Most people think our hearing takes place in our ears. But in reality it takes place between the ears, in the hearing part of the brain. The ears are the receptors but the brain does the hearing. That’s where sounds become information and take on meaning.
When our hearing is compromised the brain has to work harder to make up for the parts of speech that are missing and fill in the gaps. This extra effort can take its toll and be frustrating for everyone. It takes more time to follow what is being said and often one can’t keep up with the conversation. Because it is more work, it results in a feeling of being worn down and tired.
Your ears and brain work together to help you orient, recognize, focus, and separate the sounds around you. These four tasks are happening simultaneously and continuously inside your brain. With the use of two ears we can orient by figuring out which direction sounds come from. It’s the brain that uses the sounds from the ears to recognize familiar sounds and make sense of it. Your brain is what helps you focus in on a conversation and separate out unwanted noise. Technology in hearing devices can help with this by preserving the important details of speech, work as a system to help you locate sound, reduce the effort involved in listening, and take your personal listening preferences into account.
We’re excited that these advances in hearing technology simulate natural hearing better than ever. As a hearing aid user, Ken can attest to the enhanced quality of life that comes from good hearing aids. Less struggle orienting and recognizing sounds means a more natural, easily understood conversation.