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How Hearing Aids Help Speech Recognition

Hearing aids are beneficial for many aspects of the human experience, but one of the most important is that they can help improve speech recognition. 

Do you struggle to hear words? Do you find yourself putting in more effort to understand what is being said to you?

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Maybe your spouse or children have mentioned you’re not listening to them.  Maybe they’ve expressed frustrations you’re not paying enough attention or insisted you’re memory is worsening with time.

In reality, you may have trouble understanding spoken words because of your hearing loss.

When you can’t hear well, it’s difficult to follow conversations. 

Some individuals wait 10 or more years from the time they first notice a difference in their ability to understand speech. This can strain relationships, causing conflict and leading to social isolation. 

Men talking to each other outside

What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is a partial or complete inability to hear. It is the general wear and tear of your ears. Whether that’s the bones in the middle of your ear, the degradation of the nerve endings, or within the cochlear.

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 It can affect one or both ears and happen at any age. More than 430 million people worldwide have some form of hearing loss, making it the most common disability. 

The Science of Hearing Loss

When you hear, sound waves travel through your ear and are converted into electrical signals that are sent to your brain.

The part of your ear responsible for this conversion is called the cochlea.

It’s a tiny, snail-shaped organ filled with fluid and lined with thousands of tiny hair cells. These hair cells are what pick up the vibrations from the sound waves and turn them into electrical signals.

Once these signals reach your brain, they’re interpreted as sounds.

Man listens to different sounds

Speech Recognition and Hearing Loss

One of the biggest pain points of hearing loss is speech recognition loss. It’s how hearing loss affects how we perceive sound and conversation.

Sounds and Hearing Loss

There are two types of sounds: speech and non-speech.

Speech sounds are more complex than non-speech sounds, which makes them more difficult to hear. 

Non-speech sounds include things like the sound of a door closing or leaves rustling. These types of sounds are easier to hear because they’re not made up of many different frequencies. 

Speech sounds, on the other hand, are made up of many different frequencies, which is what makes them more difficult to hear. 

The human ear can hear a wide range of frequencies, from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. But as you get older, you may start to lose your ability to hear high-frequency sounds. 

This is because the hair cells in your ears responsible for detecting these sounds begin to break down. 

The Risk of Speech Recognition Loss

When you are missing a lot of the high tones in the sounds that you hear every day, over time it becomes more difficult to hear soft consonant sounds. 

Things like S as in Sam or F as in Frank. So when you’re speaking with someone the words can come out muddled or garbled. 

More importantly, you’re at risk for your hearing loss gradually worsening.

This is because over time it becomes harder and harder for your brain to make the connection between words and sounds. More effort is required to hear, which increases the demands we are placing on your brain. 

If your brain has to work very hard to make sense of the noises you’re hearing, you can quickly become exhausted. As your hearing worsens, that exhaustion escalates. 

Conversations and Hearing Loss

It’s estimated that we spend 70% of our waking hours communicating with others.

So if you have trouble hearing, it can have a big impact on your life. 

Hearing loss can make it difficult to follow conversations, increasing the difficulty of communicating with others. And this is where hearing aids come in. 

They can help improve speech recognition by making it easier to hear the individual sounds that comprise speech. They can also help filter out background noise so you can focus on the person who is talking to you.

couple sitting at table having trouble hearing words in conversation

Benefits of Hearing Aids for Speech Recognition

There are many benefits of hearing aids for speech recognition. Hearing aids can: 

  • Offer special features and programs to help you recognize speech patterns
  • Amplify specific sounds and voices in loud environments and from certain directions
  • Automatically adjust to the frequency of the human voice
  • Improve your ability to perceive high and low-frequency sounds
  • Make speech and sound clearer and richer
  • Tune out ambient noise

Why Advanced Hearing Aids Are Better for Speech Recognition

If you’re looking for hearing aids to help with speech recognition, it’s important to choose a hearing aid that is designed for this purpose. 

Advanced hearing aids use technology like binaural processing and directional microphones to help improve speech recognition. 

Hearing Aid Features and Speech Understanding 

Before we get into our products, let’s review how the features of different products help with speech recognition. 

Speech-finder:  Speech-finder technology is advanced technology capable of finding and enhancing speech sounds within your environment, no matter which direction it’s coming from. Your hearing aids determine where speech is coming from and direct the microphones to focus on the speech source. 

Your hearing aids are able to quickly capture and focus on speech sounds, so you don’t miss out on the conversation.

Adaptive-directional microphones:  Adaptive-directional microphones help with something called signal-to-noise ratio. When you’re in a noisy environment, you don’t want your hearing aids to pick up all sounds equally. Instead, you want your hearing aids to pick up the signal (speech) and reduce the background sound (noise).

Adaptive microphones use one microphone to reduce unwanted noise and the other to amplify the sounds that matter most, like speech sounds. This means that even in a crowded and busy environment, you can clearly understand speech and conversation. 

Equalizers:  Equalizers allow you to adjust the sound quality of the hearing aids yourself. 

With the equalizer, you gain control of bass, treble, and mid-range frequencies. If you’re having trouble hearing certain sounds, you can easily adjust your settings based on your specific needs.

Auto-adapt:  Auto-adapt automatically adjusts to your environment to help you hear speech sounds. The hearing aid automatically cycles between 4-6 hearing aid programs, which are all designed to help you hear. The programs vary depending on the model, but can include: “Conversation In Quiet”, “Conversation In A Small Group”, “Conversation In A Crowd”, “Conversation In Noise”, “Quiet”, and “Noise”.  

Soft-speech intensifier: This technology does exactly what it says. When people speak softly, it can be difficult to understand them. The soft-speech intensifier selectively amplifies soft speech sounds so that they are easier to hear and understand. 

Tinnitus masker:  Provides tinnitus relief and reduces distraction so it’s easier to focus on speech. 

Audicus Hearing Aids and Speech Recognition 

Below are some examples of how our hearing aids address speech understanding with their high-tech features:

The Omni: 

  1. Speech finder capabilities
  2. Adaptive-directional microphones
  3. Soft speech intensifier
  4. Equalizer
  5. Auto-adapt (6 programs)
  6. Tinnitus masker

One Silver Rechargeable Bluetooth Hearing Aid - The Spirit

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The Spirit 

  1. Auto-adapt (4 programs)
  2. Soft speech intensifier
  3. Equalizer
  4. Tinnitus masker

One Silver Rechargeable Bluetooth Hearing Aid - The Spirit

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The Wave

  1. Auto-adapt (4 programs)
  2. Tinnitus Masker

One Silver Rechargeable Bluetooth Hearing Aid - The Spirit

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The Mini

  1. Auto-adapt (4 programs)
  2. Equalizer
  3. Tinnitus masker

Red and Blue Invisible Aura Hearing Aids

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Difference Between Amplifiers and True Hearing Aids

There are two types of devices that can help with hearing loss: amplifiers and true hearing aids. 

All Audicus hearing aids are true hearing aids. They are technologically advanced and can do much more complex things than amplifiers. 

Amplifiers are less technologically advanced. They simply make sounds louder but don’t filter out background noise or focus on the sound in front of you. 

This can actually make it more difficult to hear the speech because you’re getting a lot of information all at once. 

True hearing aids, on the other hand, use technology like binaural processing and directional microphones to help improve speech recognition. 

Binaural processing is when the hearing aid uses information from both ears to process sound. As it’s giving your brain more information to work with, it ultimately improves speech recognition.

Why True Hearing Aids Are Best for Speech Recognition 

True hearing aids are designed to amplify sound evenly across all frequencies. This means that you’ll be able to hear both high and low-frequency sounds equally well. 

While this may not seem important, it’s actually essential for speech recognition as speech is made up of a range of frequencies, from low to high. 

If you can’t hear all the frequencies that are used in speech, it’s difficult to understand what someone is saying. 

True hearing aids can also be customized to your specific hearing loss. This means that they can be adjusted to amplify the sound of speech more than other sounds.

 For example, the ability to reduce background noise makes it easier to focus on the sound of someone’s voice.

Shopping for Devices Designed for Speech Understanding 

Hearing aids aren’t just a tool for us to hear better – they can also help improve our relationships, mental health, and overall quality of life.

So why Choose Audicus?

For starters, as mentioned, Audicus offers true hearing aids. This is in contrast to many other hearing aid companies which offer amplifiers. 

The other main benefit is the technology which is specifically designed to address speech understanding. All of our models have features and specs meant to make understanding conversation easier for you. 

If you’re struggling to hear and understand speech, don’t wait any longer to seek help. Speech recognition loss only increases over time when left untreated. Getting hearing aids reduces the burden on your brain and makes it easier to communicate with those who matter most in your life. 

Audicus is an award-winning hearing health company that produces advanced hearing aids online without markups. You can order online and get them delivered right to your door.