Human Hearing is matched to catch all the sounds that make up speech. From the long, loud and low-pitched vowel sounds (a,e,i,o,u), to the shorter, quieter, higher-pitched consonants (f,s,th,t,k,p,h).
Even though the voices we encounter differ from one person to another, we usually find that if we are speaking the same language and can tune in to their accent, we will understand most of what someone is saying, even if it's the first time we've ever met them.
It's all thanks to the amazing partnership our hearing has with our brains.
Of course, some voices are more difficult to follow than others. We have to work harder, or concentrate more, to keep up with what they are saying. It may be their pitch or their enunciation. Sometimes it's their accent or how much they move their mouths. And let's face it, some people do mumble or speak too quickly.
Changes in hearing
We also need to remember that hearing changes throughout the entire course of our adult lives. That's natural. But if we allow these changes to eat into the areas of hearing we need for speech sounds, it's going to put us at a serious disadvantage.
Essentially, it means that the connection between our brains and the outside world is getting compromised, which in turn compromises our own potential. It affects our relationships, our opportunities, and even our health and wellbeing.
Hear to stay, not fade away
Instead of allowing changes in hearing to get the better of us we can use hearing technology (like audifiers or ‘hearing aids’) to digitally match our hearing to speech sounds. Modern technology like this selectively identifies the sounds currently falling outside of our natural hearing range and enhances them, giving our brains more information to work with, freeing up valuable mental resources (like concentration and memory).
We may never get the people around us to speak to more clearly. But we can boost our hearing to match people's speech!