The differences in normal hearing and hearing aid hearing

The ear is a wondrous and intricate creation. Early in our development, our ears are formed, consisting of millions of cells working in unison to create speech understanding and sound awareness. And all of that happens before we’re even born! However, as our ears age the chances of hearing loss increases. To simply explain, from the time we’re born, the nerve fibers that work to make hearing possible (along with all other body fibers) start to weaken and fail. When we are reaching the “twilight of our lives”, the fibers have declined to an extent that causes hearing loss.

For the majority of age-related hearing loss cases, hearing aids are the only solution needed. In today’s modern age of technological advances, you may think it would be easy to mirror the exact function of our ears and hearing ability. However, so far, that’s not the case. Companies like Starkey are continuing to improve probabilities, but for now it’s impossible for hearing technology companies to accurately replicate what “normal” hearing sounds like. (the “normal” is in quotation marks because each person’s understanding of normal hearing varies.)

Less than 25 vs. More than 25,000

Simply put and mechanically speaking, hearing instruments are extremely similar to public address (P.A.) systems. Both have a microphone that picks up the sound, an “equalizer” that breaks down that sound, and a “speaker” that relays that sound to the inner ear. As of today, hearing aids can offer two dozen “channels” (similar to sliders on a big equalizer board) to help hearing impaired individuals to capture and hear the nuances and variances of sounds.

By comparison, a human ear is a complex structure that utilizes all parts to convey “normal” hearing. The outer ear (pinna) channels sound in and through the ear canal to the middle ear. The ear canal’s shape enhances high pitches for better understanding of speech. The middle ear uses the mechanics of the small bones to provide extra amplification to sound. The inner ear changes mechanical to electrical energy, while utilizing more than 25,000 tiny hair cells to allow one to hear the nuances of sound (as opposed to the two dozen channels a hearing aid can use). Finally, the electrical energy moves through many thousands of fine-tuned nerve fibers to the region of the brain that’s responsible for understanding sound. It’s easy to understand why electronically attempting to duplicate this complex system is very difficult, to say the least.   

Watch the video below to understand how your hearing works!


The closest and next best thing to “normal hearing

Of course, today’s hearing aids can’t 100% adequately replicate all functions of human ears, they can be of significant benefit to hearing impaired individuals. Digitization of sound and precise computer software enable hearing healthcare professionals to more accurately address hearing loss. Hearing instruments no longer easily squeal - also, due to the automatic nature of technology, there’s no need for manual controls for volume. Modern hearing aids adjust to their environment thousands of times per second to create the best hearing possible for their wearer.

Although they may not be able to restore hearing back to “normal,” today’s hearing aids have become closer than ever. They can help restore your quality of life by helping you clearly hear, listen and interact with the people and be a part of activities that bring you happiness..

Experience what our hearing aids do for yourself by contacting a local hearing professional! They can help determine which hearing aids will be perfect for your level of hearing loss, lifestyle and budget. Call (888) 919-6824 or click here!

By Starkey Canada