Speech Comprehension and Hearing | Lawson's Hearing Center

What is Speech Comprehension?

Speech comprehension is the ability to understand and comprehend speech signals and to transform them into information. In order to understand the meaning behind words and syllables, you must be able to comprehend speech. Speech comprehension in children is especially crucial because their brains are rapidly developing and they are constantly learning new information. In adults, speech comprehension is focused more towards being able to clearly hear and understand words in a conversation and apply meaning to them. Hearing loss complicates this process for both children and adults.

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Speech Comprehension?

Hearing loss affects your ability to hear clearly, making it difficult to hear certain words or syllables. In fact, hearing loss is a major contributor to difficulties in speech comprehension for older adults. Hearing loss makes sounds seem muffled, and depending on the type and severity of hearing loss, can affect your ability to hear certain tones or frequencies. When you can't hear, your brain doesn't receive the proper stimulation it needs to remain active and healthy. Hearing loss prevents certain sound signals from reaching the brain, which means your brain won't be able to even process those sound signals and turn them into information or memory.

If left untreated, hearing loss can cause your brain to forget certain sounds or words. Because your brain hasn't heard these words in such a long time, it will forget them. This leads to difficulties with speech comprehension. Because hearing loss makes it difficult to hear what is being said, you may misunderstand the conversation and respond inappropriately. This can leave people feeling embarrassed or even ashamed of their hearing loss, and can lead to further complications such as social isolation, depression, cognitive decline, and even dementia.

What You Can Do to Prevent Difficulties with Speech Comprehension

Hearing loss doesn't have to lead to difficulties with speech comprehension. When treated at the first signs, hearing loss can be successfully managed. Wearing hearing aids is an effective way to manage hearing loss and to provide your brain with the proper stimulation it needs to remain active and healthy. Hearing aids will provide your brain with the sound signals it needs so it can continue to process information. This is the best way to prevent any difficulties with speech comprehension because the better you can hear, the easier it will be for you to recognize and identify words.

If you have hearing loss and have left it untreated for many years, you may notice it is harder for you to understand certain words and sounds than it used to be. You may even notice that you feel like you are forgetful. The best solution is to visit your hearing specialist and get fit for a pair of hearing aids. Even with hearing aids, if your hearing loss has been left untreated it may be difficult for you to regain your speech comprehension.

Don't let hearing loss affect your ability to understand and process speech. Contact us today about how hearing aids can help you.

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