In essence, sound funnels into the ear canal and causes the eardrum to vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted from the eardrum through the middle ear by three small bones to the cochlea, the main organ of hearing. The vibrations cause movement in the fluid which fills the cochlea. This movement in turn causes hair cells found in the cochlea to vibrate, creating nerve signals which are sent to the brain where they are interpreted. The hair cells at one end of the cochlea respond to slower frequencies, corresponding to lower pitched sounds, while the hair cells at the other end of the cochlea respond to faster frequencies or higher pitched sounds.
How Are Hearing Sounds And Understanding Conversations Different
The ability to hear comes from your ears, but your ability to understand speech comes from your brain. There are basically three sections in this process; the ear, the nerves that take the signal from the ear to the brain and the brain itself.
Now we have to get the signal to the brain. Sometimes people have auditory processing difficulties that make speech difficult to understand when background noise or visual distractions are present. The problem lies in the processing path the sound takes to the brain. Think back to your school days. Some people could study with a party going on while others need it quiet to soak the lesson in.
Why Is Hearing Loss So Difficult To Understand And Treat?
As previously mentioned, the human body operates on the "use it or lose it" principle, and hearing is no different. Hearing loss is often gradual and, therefore, something to which one adapts. There is a growing collection of detailed studies that show the sooner one treats hearing loss, the better the outcome one will have. This is because the longer the problem is ignored, the harder it is to treat.
Hearing aids can do a great job in filling in the gaps that your inner ear is missing but they need help from the rest of your auditory system to get the light bulb in your brain to flash on. Considerations that may help you:
Get the right hearing aids for your hearing loss. Although most of the hearing aids available now are good at adjusting for your hearing loss, some are better than others at cutting out background noise or enhancing speech.
It takes time. Over time the brain loses some of the synapses (connections) it needs to interpret the speech signal it is getting. If you learned a foreign language a few years ago but didn't keep up with it, you'll have to relearn the vocabulary to understand it again. Well, you brain has to relearn the "new sounds" it is hearing with hearing aids. This can take weeks or even months. The more you wear your hearing aids, the better your brain will get at interpreting the signal.
Proper expectations. Even the best hearing aids can't repair dead inner ear hair cells or completely get rid of background noise. You may never be able to hear as well as you once did, but the benefits hearing aids will bring can improve the quality of your life.
Anatomy of the Ear
As mentioned above, the auditory system is divided into three distinct parts. Each of these has an important role to play in the process off hearing.
The Outer Ear - This is composed of:
The Middle Ear - This is made up of:
The Inner Ear - Consisting of:
""When I first came to Integrated Hearing Solutions, I was wearing one hearing aid and not very happy with it's performance. After a thorough exam and consultation, Bob Olson explained to me that the brain needs messages and stimulation from both ears, just as nature has designed. He convinced me that I needed amplification in both my bad ear and my not so bad ear. Since then I have experienced a more balanced quality of sounds around me. Bob has continued to give me personal, specialized attention and time in the maintenance and performance of my product. I would recommend him to anyone who is experiencing hearing loss and is ready to take steps to improve their situation."Barbara J. K. / Minneapolis, MN