Understanding what I hear

November 10, 2016 by Janie Durette


What is speech discrimination? How does it relate to hearing loss?

A person with hearing loss needs more volume to hear sounds that people with normal hearing can hear. Among others, hearing aids can help offset hearing loss.

Hearing loss is measured in decibels over a number of different frequencies. Normal hearing is between 0 and 20 decibels. The higher the measured result, the more volume you need to hear sounds.

Speech discrimination

Speech discrimination is being able to correctly understand what words mean. It’s measured as a percent. The measurement indicates how well you understand what you hear when speech is loud enough to hear comfortably. The higher the percentage, the more you can understand what is said and the fewer misunderstandings you have. If your discrimination score is 100% in a calm environment, you understand everything you hear. At the other end of the spectrum, 0% discrimination means you can’t understand a single word that is spoken, no matter how loud it is.

Hearing loss and speech discrimination go hand in hand. For example, if a person gets their hearing tested and their average hearing loss is 65 dB and their speech discrimination is 80%, in a quiet environment they will understand eight out of ten words spoken if the volume is loud enough. However, the two remaining words will sound like gibberish.

Hearing aids are therefore very useful. They allow people with hearing loss to hear speech at a comfortable level so they can understand it. Even if the person understands only eight out of ten words when wearing hearing aids, that’s already a big improvement! Remember that hearing aids are not new ears. It’s also useful to adopt communication strategies in order to properly understand.

Lip reading

Lip reading, or watching how the lips move when someone is speaking, can help you understand what is being said. One reason why it’s harder to understand someone on the phone is because you don’t have access to this visual information like you do when speaking in person.

Hearing aids allow you to understand as much as possible and get the most out of discussions!

To learn more about hearing aids, consult an audioprosthetist.

PAUL, Peter V., WHITELAW, Gail M., “Hearing and Deafness,” Adult Audiologic Rehabilitation, Second Edition, pp. 253–275. Article viewed online August 10, 2016: http://www.therubins.com/geninfo/speechrd.htm.

To determine which hearing aids are best for you, consult an audioprosthetist.