Why can the elderly hear sounds but not hear them clearly or understand them?

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  • Source:Phonak Hearing Aids
The aging of the population has become a social problem, and hearing loss is inevitable for the elderly. In real life, we often encounter situations where we cannot hear clearly on the phone, need others to repeat what they say, and are often complained by family members about turning on the TV too loudly. Especially high-frequency (high-pitched) sounds, such as children's voices and bird calls, are often inaudible.

Why can the elderly hear sounds but not hear them clearly?

The main problem of most patients with presbycusis is "can't hear clearly". There is no significant difference between speech understanding and normal people in a quiet environment, but in an environment with noise or competing sentences, the speech discrimination ability is very poor.

After the hearing organ of the elderly has degenerated, the sensitivity to sounds of certain frequencies, mainly the high frequency part, becomes worse, just like the eyes have color blindness, and some frequencies The sound can still be heard. In this case, the sound that the elderly can perceive is incomplete audio frequency. Although the sense of loudness is still there, because the high-frequency part that determines the clarity of the sound cannot be heard, the sound can be heard, but not clearly.

Generally speaking, hearing includes three stages: hearing (perception), hearing clearly (discrimination), and understanding (understanding). These three stages are inclusive. If you can hear clearly, you must have heard it, but if you hear it, you may not hear it clearly.

The inner ear has a simple sound signal discrimination ability. After the inner ear is damaged, the auditory discrimination ability will be reduced. However, because people's auditory discrimination ability has enough room, 70% recognition of a sentence is enough to ensure that we understand it, without demanding 100%. Therefore, less serious inner ear damage will not cause the patient to completely lose the ability to distinguish, and the auditory center It has more complex and powerful sound signal analysis capabilities. If the auditory center is damaged, the auditory recognition ability will be significantly reduced. When a person enters a noisy environment, because the speech signal itself becomes ambiguous, people with normal hearing will sound unclear. It is more difficult, and patients with reduced auditory function are even more unable to hear clearly. A similar situation will occur if the signal sound is too low. For example, if the TV sound is too low, we cannot hear clearly. Unfortunately, most patients with sensorineural deafness have damage to the inner ear and auditory center, but the degree is different. The more severe the hearing loss, the worse the discrimination ability. The only exception is auditory neuropathy. Therefore, most patients with sensorineural deafness complain that they can hear but not hear clearly.

Another type is that patients with sensorineural hearing loss have poor resolution in terms of ability.There is a certain level of loss. Moreover, this loss develops over time. Therefore, early intervention, sound stimulation, and maintaining the stimulation state of the auditory center are beneficial and harmless in delaying the degradation of auditory discrimination ability.

The cause of hearing loss in the elderly is the deterioration of auditory organ function. These patients can hear, but cannot hear or understand clearly. Based on the principle of "use it or lose it", we advocate long-term wearing of hearing aids so that the degraded hearing function can be slowly restored. Use continuously improved speech recognition technology to help users improve speech resolution. We hope that elderly patients can regain the joy of life by wearing hearing aids!