Understanding speech is one of the hardest problems in dealing with hearing loss. There’s a difference between hearing and understanding. You can hear speech, but not necessary be able to understand it. With hearing loss, it is not really about hearing the speech but being able to tell one letter or sound from another. Frequencies are lost and the brain can’t interpret those sounds anymore. Each consonant, word ending, sound, and vowel corresponds to a particular frequency; when frequencies are lost, speech understanding goes with it.
Perception of speech will suffer. The auditory and neurological pathways are affected. You might be able to hear sound but not be able to interpret it. As the tiny hair cells in the ears diminish, speech perception diminishes--according to a 2012 study. Listening fatigue, poor cognitive performance, and slow speech perception all impact someone with hearing loss. Therefore, it becomes horribly hard to understand what’s being said. It’s not so much about failures of perception as it is diminishing cognitive performance. The auditory system is a conduit to hearing but the brain is what hears.
If you have even mild hearing loss and are worried about cognitive decline, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for solutions.