Speech understanding is a beautiful and complex coordination of the input from the inner ear and various areas of the brain, including those involved in short -term memory.
Although hearing a simple tone isn’t that demanding on the brain, hearing speech places a demand on many areas of our brain to perform sound detection, sound analysis and discrimination and memory to hold the various parts of words and assemble them into complete words and sentences. If there are any competing sounds in the environment, even more demanding processing needs to happen in the brain. For this reason, in addition to fitting our patients with hearing aids, we can also provide a hearing-in-noise test (Quicksin), to help determine how well this process is going.
Often after our patients have been using hearing aid technology consistently, we can see some improvement in how well the brain and ears are working together to understand speech, especially in complex listening situations and their Quicksin score may even show improvement.