Hearing, but not understanding

Q. My family and friends and I have noticed that my hearing has been progressively worse over the past few years. Why can I hear voices loudly enough but still not understand them? It is maddening.

A. You are noticing one of the most common symptoms of hearing loss, ‘mumbled’ voices. And yes, it gets very frustrating for you and them.
For most people, hearing loss means that certain parts of sounds, but not all sounds, become harder to hear. Yet other parts of sounds might still be heard at a normal level.
It is common with hearing loss to have more trouble detecting higher frequency sounds. Some common portions of speech in the higher frequencies are the ‘C’, ‘F’, ‘S’, ‘T’, ‘H’, ‘X’, ‘CH’, ‘SH’, and ‘TH’ sounds. It also becomes much harder to tell the difference between very similar sounds like ‘B’ and ‘D’, between ‘M’ and ‘N’, and between ‘J’ and ‘K’.
If these sounds are more difficult to detect and differentiate, but other parts of speech are easier to hear, the words you are listening to will sound garbled and indistinct. In other words, some words, phrases, and voices will be loud enough to hear, but they will come across sounding mumbled and will be hard to understand.
Call us at the Better Hearing Center of Austin for a thorough, well explained ear and hearing exam. You will also listen to the newest hearing aids at your appointment. We then provide 4-week hearing aid trials with follow-up appointments so you can fully try out hearing aids before making a final purchase.