How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Speech?

by | Jul 20, 2020 | Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Elongated speech is something that is very common among those with hearing loss. After a while, it can put a strain on your body as your breathing becomes strained as well.

One of the most common challenges those experiencing hearing loss face, is keeping a good rapport with those around them. Communication becomes murky and we slowly begin to unintentionally ignore people, not join in conversations or perhaps even misunderstand what someone is saying. You’ll learn to slowly but surely, lip read and try to keep up with what your friends and family members are saying, yet it won’t remove those barriers. Some verbal sounds will become distorted or made duller as your hearing loss increases.

This in turn, can affect how you speak. Only when you’re in this type of situation do you realize how hearing and speech patterns are directly linked with each other. These are just some of the ways your speech could change due to hearing loss.

Sharpness of letters

Vowels are a lot easier to pronounce than consonants. Aa and ee sounds tend to stick out in words, in most accents. They don’t require a lot of mouth movement either. However, consonants need lip, tongue and movement of the jaw in order to be pronounced correctly. The sharpness of letters is slowly lost and the pitch in which you speak will also lower. This is due to your brain not being able to capture a verbal marker. The vibration in your head made by speaking isn’t registered and thus it’s difficult to know if you’re getting the accuracy of pronunciation correct.

The crispness of your speech will deteriorate as your brain and ears are no longer in communication. You’ll find that gentle consonants such as L, C, R and S will be among the first to lose their impact in your speech.

A higher volume

As you can imagine, when you can no longer decimate whether you are speaking as accurately as you would like, you tend to overcompensate. This will result in a higher volume as you try to hear what you are saying and make sure others around you can understand what you’re trying to convey. If left untreated, hearing loss can also result in the losing of one’s normal tone and accent. People tend to sound the same when they are shouting and it may result in changes to your mouths muscle memory.

Not to mention, people may consider you rude as you’re unintentionally raising your voice at them when trying to have a conversation. The unfortunate social implications often fly under the radar until they affect us personally.

Repeating oneself and others

Hearing loss can also cause a severe lack of confidence. This can lead to you repeating yourself over and over, just to make sure others can understand you. During a conversation, if your eyes glanced away and you were unable to match their lip movements with sounds, you’ll ask them to repeat themselves. This can become frustrating for others too. Speaking with an audiologist, you can gain an understanding into what kind of hearing options you have. Modern hearing aids are incredibly advanced, allowing you to hear in almost full 360-degree.

The most powerful hearing aid style is the behind the ear (BTE). They are however the largest style and remain clearly visible from most angles. If you’d like something a little more discreet, the invisible in canal (IIC) is just as it describes in the name, very small and hides inside the ear. It uses a micro device and is fitted deep in the ear. Depending on your range or cone of hearing, the audiologist will recommend a specific style of hearing aid, but you can choose the exact model.

Faint sounds

Quiet sounds and or speech becomes quite strenuous to pick up on. Conductive hearing loss is when there is an issue in the outer or middle ear, preventing sound from entering the inner ear. This can result in not being able to properly hear faint sounds. Not being able to pick up what someone is saying to you when they are upstairs and you are downstairs, is annoying at best.

However, faint sounds will affect your speech by sometimes making you talk louder and slower. As you sense distant sounds, your brain will think someone is a lot further than they actually are. In order to make yourself heard, you will stretch out words and sounds in order to reach that person. Elongated speech is something that is very common among those with hearing loss. After a while, it can put a strain on your body as your breathing becomes strained as well.

If you have any questions as to what kind of hearing loss you’re experiencing and what options you have to help you, speak with an audiologist from the Allison Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, call today at Houston: (713) 827-1767.

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Jana Emola-Austin, Au.D.

Raised in Bryan, Texas, Jana completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University before attending the University of North Texas with an ambition to earn her master’s degree in speech pathology. However, a required audiology class soon set her on a new career path. She became enthralled with the subject and says audiology resonated with her because it involved everything she enjoys – helping people to improve their lives and relationships with others and using technology to make positive impacts. Following this revelation, Jana went on to graduate with her Doctor of Audiology degree. After many years of assisting patients in the clinic on a daily basis, Jana’s main responsibilities at Allison Audiology have shifted to a management role. She now works behind the scenes focusing on administrative, management, and marketing responsibilities.