Speech Discrimination & Hearing Aids - Are They Interrelated? Read To Know!
Speech discrimination is a measure of how well you understand when you hear when speech is loud enough to hear comfortably. Audiologists measure speech discrimination in percent. If your discrimination scores are 100%, you understand everything you hear. At the other end of the spectrum, 0% discrimination means you can’t understand a single word that is spoken, no matter how loud it is.
Poor speech discrimination is the result of not being able to hear the higher frequencies well, or at all, since most of the “intelligence” in speech resides in the higher frequencies. If you can still hear the high frequencies somewhat, then having hearing aids that are specifically adjusted to amplify these higher frequencies to your optimal level will help. The better the quality of the sound, the better we can understand it—even with our poor hearing.
If you cannot hear the high frequencies at all, then using a frequency transportation hearing aid may help you by shifting sounds down to the frequency range you can still hear. Some people have good success with these special hearing aids.
For coping up better, speechreading used in conjunction with your hearing aids can also remarkably improve discrimination. Studies have shown that when used with hearing aids, speechreading can increase your discrimination up to the 80% level.
Speechreading is not normally used by itself. It is just one of three hearing loss coping skills we use to communicate effectively. The other two are wearing hearing aids/using assistive listening devices and practicing effective coping strategies.
Thus, the real secret to speechreading is to combine it with hearing aids. In other words, use all the speechreading skills you have, plus do everything you can to increase your residual hearing.