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Ask a TruHearing Provider

Experienced hearing healthcare professionals answer your questions about hearing loss, hearing aids, and overall hearing health.

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I have worn hearing aids for 9 years, but lately the understanding—especially consonants—has diminished. The volume, at least according to volume-level on TV, has stayed the same. Can hearing aids be adjusted to help with consonants?

Answer:

Yes, your hearing aids can usually be adjusted to help with consonants. Most of the sounds in the higher frequencies aren’t affected by the loudness or energy in speech, so when you are listening to the TV the loudness may be just fine while the degree of hearing loss in that region has changed. You should schedule a hearing exam with your provider to see if changes in your hearing loss merit an adjustment to your hearing aids. If you have older or basic-level hearing aids, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher-end model that your provider can program specifically to address your individual hearing loss.

Another possibility is that your hearing hasn’t changed at all, but it’s your brain’s ability to decode the sounds that isn’t what it used to be. This is a natural part of aging. However, higher quality hearing aids with speech enhancement and background noise reduction may help improve your comprehension. There are also mental exercises you can do to improve comprehension, such as listening to an audio book and reading along at the same time.

As your hearing or ability to comprehend speech changes over time, it’s important to visit your provider for guidance and adjustments to ensure you are getting the best performance out of your hearing aids.

Avatar of Jorge Zavala

Jorge S. Zavala, Au.D., is the owner of Norriton Hearing Center in Norristown, PA

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