May is celebrated as Better Hearing & Speech month. The aim of the month is to help raise awareness about communication disorders, and how treatment can be a life-changing experience. 2019’s theme is Communication Across the Lifespan, so we wanted to take the opportunity to explore hearing loss and communication. With that in mind, we’re asking: “Can hearing loss affect speech?”
Affected speech is most commonly seen in individuals who have had a hearing loss since childhood. In adults, it can be an issue if they have long-term or severe hearing loss. It’s especially prevalent in cases where the hearing loss goes untreated.
Why Does Hearing Loss Affect Speech?
As a hearing loss worsens and our hearing capabilities diminishes, the frequencies at which sounds can be heard also reduce. When we speak and form words, every letter and verbal sound has its own unique frequency range. If your hearing loss has caused you to lose the ability to hear this range, a few things will happen. At first, words, letters, and sounds that involve or use these frequencies become difficult to hear. They also tend to become harder to understand or identify.
In cases where the hearing loss is not treated, our brains begin to adjust to the inability to hear the sounds associated with the particular frequencies. This will impact how our brain uses and interprets speech. It all relates back to the connection between the sounds you hear and how your brain interprets those sounds. Put simply, sounds and letters that you struggle to hear within words, you may begin to struggle saying.
Are There Treatment Options Available?
When a hearing loss is accompanied by a speech impairment, it’s not uncommon to experience anxiety, depression, or problems concentrating. You may also feel inclined to withdraw from social situations or activities. But, there are a number of things that you can do. The first thing is to ensure that you’ve been fitted for the right hearing aid. If you’re not sure, come in and meet the hearing care experts at Audionics NYC, and we’d be happy to talk you through hearing aids for your lifestyle.
Other things you can do include:
- Reduce background noise and eliminate any unnecessary distractions.
- Use gestures and visual cues. Speak clearly and deliberately. Find the easiest method of communication for you, and use it. It may be sign language, writing, or even pointing.
- Look for local support groups – you are not alone!
- Use assistive technology wherever available.
Accepting that a hearing loss is impacted your day to day life can be difficult. If you believe that a hearing loss may be affecting your speech, come in for a hearing assessment. Early detection of hearing loss and subsequent treatment is the best way to minimize the impact on your daily life. To book today, please call 212-755-5100. Alternatively, click here click here to request an appointment online.