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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Speech

a woman holding her hand to her ear

Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million people in the United States. Hearing loss can happen to someone due to a variety of factors including heredity, illness or due to an accident and can affect a person at any age. Hearing loss can be severe or minimal, and treatments can vary depending on the cause of the hearing loss.

How can hearing loss impact your life

Hearing loss can affect other things in the body such as balance and equilibrium and can also affect your speech in some cases. There are four main ways in which hearing loss can impact your speech: 

  • Speech and language: Hearing loss can cause delays in the development of expressive communication skills.
  • Diminishing frequency: As someone’s hearing loss becomes more profound, the frequency with which they hear also diminishes. As hearing loss becomes more prevalent you may notice your ability to make out certain frequencies diminishing in turn.
  • Diminished speech: This happens as your ability to hear certain sounds dwindles, so then does your ability to say those sounds. To break it down further - your brain relies on your ears to hear frequencies and specific sound patterns. As you lose the ability to hear those sounds, while your brain doesn’t necessarily forget how to make the sounds, it does, in time, lose the ability to pronounce them properly. As your ears can no longer hear you making the sounds, your brain does not necessarily realize that you are pronouncing things differently. Naturally, your degree of hearing loss directly determines the degree of speech difficulty. 

Some people with minimal hearing loss choose to just deal with the problem or find that they can get along relatively well without treatment. Others prefer to get a hearing aid or explore other options to improve their hearing ability. 

Your best bet, regardless of the degree of hearing loss you experience, is to speak with a reputable hearing instrument specialist about your specific needs, such as the dedicated team at Center for Better Hearing. Once you’ve made an appointment, you’ll go in for a consultation in which you’ll talk with the hearing instrument specialist about your hearing loss and your options for treatment. Likely you’ll undergo a few tests to see which type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, and the specialist will lay out your options. Depending on the type and cause of your hearing loss, surgery may be an option, but the far more common treatment for hearing loss is to be fitted with a hearing aid. 

Hearing aids as a solution to hearing loss

Hearing aids are small, easy to install and work amazingly well, no matter the level of hearing difficulty. While there are dozens of brands and styles of hearing aid on the market, there are three main types that are most commonly used. Your hearing specialist will go over these with you in detail: 

  • In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are worn inside the ear canal and are connected to the device by an electrical wire. They are quite small, very sleek and easy to wear and are generally good for moderate hearing loss. 
  • Behind the ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids are worn outside, or just behind the ear. A clear plastic tube connects to the device, which is worn inside the ear. BTE is the most commonly used type of hearing aid and are often used for adults and children alike. They are good for moderate to severe hearing loss. 
  • In the canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids are worn inside the canal of the ear. These are used for mild to moderate hearing loss and offer a natural listening experience and feel.

If you’re wondering which of these types is right for you, speak with your hearing instrument specialist, who can describe these hearing devices in more detail and help you choose the best one for your needs. You may even be able to try them out to determine which is the best fit, literally and figuratively. Your hearing instrument specialist will go over pricing information with you as well, ensuring that any device you choose is within your budget and suits your needs perfectly. 

Hearing loss affects so many Americans across a wide array of ages and abilities. Choosing a hearing device or other form of treatment is easy and painless when you work with a reputable hearing specialist who puts your best interests and needs at the forefront. Call your hearing specialist today to see what options are available to you. Learn more about the Center for Better Hearing call today at 510-768-7091.