We may think that hearing is all about our ears, but in fact they simply serve as starting point to a much more complex processing system. They are the auditory information paths to our brains!
Your brain is a very efficient organ; no space goes unused and your brain wastes no time reorganizing itself and “cleaning house” so to speak. When one system is not operating at its normal capacity, the brain literally changes in physical structure and function to adapt to the lack of stimulation. Auditory deprivation leads to neural atrophy, which can change the way you process information.
Our patients tell us “I can hear people speaking in a group, but I just can’t make out what they are saying…” “The television is loud, but the words are unclear”
When we are deprived of sound for a few years our nerves lose some of their ability to carry accurate information, which ultimately may leave our speech recognition in real trouble. When we amplify sound, we increase audibility, but if this is done years after the onset of hearing loss, the benefits may be more limited. Therefore, early intervention is quite important.
When we have lost hearing and we re-introduce sound, we need time for our brains to acclimatise and use sound effectively again, particularly if we have been starved of sound for a long period of time. With a gentle introduction to new sound, and consistent use,1. the brain becomes better at processing sound information.
Research on using hearing instruments shows that, as with any form of ‘training’ (just like exercise), you can reach your best potential. You just need to start, and commit to consistency.