Why are people mumbling?
Speech consists of vowels and consonants in specific frequency and loudness categories. A person with normal hearing can hear all these speech sounds clearly in a quiet environment. As hearing deteriorates, some speech sounds become harder to hear or even inaudible. These speech sounds are usually the sounds that give speech its clarity. Without these important speech sounds, speech may seem unclear or that the person is mumbling. A hearing device makes these sounds audible again, resulting in clearer speech.
Types & Causes of hearing losses
Hearing loss can be categorized into 4 types, depending on what part of the auditory system is damaged.
1. A sensorineural hearing loss refers to a problem in the inner ear, either in the hair cells of the cochlea or the hearing nerve or both. The more common causes of a sensorineural hearing loss are due to the ageing process and damage to the hair cells by exposure to loud noise. Other causes may be genetic, certain medications and diseases such as rubella.
The majority of all sensorineural hearing losses are a permanent loss, so medical intervention such as surgery or medication rarely improve the hearing loss. Hearing devices are the best option to enhance hearing and communication.
2. A conductive hearing loss refers to a problem in the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear normally. This hearing loss is common in children due to middle ear infections and/or fluid behind the ear drum. Other causes may be genetic (otosclerosis), perforation of the eardrum, damaged ossicles or a build up of wax. In the majority of these cases, the hearing loss can be reversed with medical intervention. If not, hearing devices may be of benefit.
3. A mixed hearing loss is a combination of both a sensorineural and conductive loss.
4. A central hearing loss results from damage or impairment to the nerves of the central nervous system, either in the pathways to the brain or in the brain itself.
How Hearing Loss Can Affect an Individual
- Drop in self esteem and confidence levels
- Stress and irritability due to frustration in communicating
- Fatigue – many people may report feeling tired at the end of the day as a lot of effort has gone into listening
- Withdrawn / Antisocial behaviour due to the difficulty of not being able to follow conversation
- Lack of concentration in conversation.
How Hearing Loss can Affect Family and Friends
- May find themselves talking for the other person
- Sacrificing some social activities
- Frustrated and tired due to difficulty in communicating
- Embarrassed in company
Hearing Instruments can help ease the frustration, embarrassment and fatigue associated with hearing loss. Many studies have shown the benefits of hearing instruments and the difference they can make. Many people who wear hearing aids and also their families, report improved relationships, more social activity, reduction in stress, anger and frustration and an overall improvement in quality of life.