When most people think about hearing loss, their first concern is not being able to hear what people are saying to them, even at a close distance. But, as hearing loss progresses, some people notice that they aren’t able to communicate as effectively with others. 

Speech problems are most commonly found in those who have had hearing issues since childhood. But they can also arise in adults who have long-term hearing loss; especially if it goes untreated for any length of time. 

So, how is your speech affected by hearing loss? Why does it change if you experience hearing issues as an adult? Most importantly, can you do anything to treat it? Let’s find out more. 

Why does hearing loss impact your speech?

To understand why hearing loss and speech are connected, you first have to understand what happens when you start to lose your hearing. You lose the ability to hear the frequencies associated with different sounds. 

When you speak, each word you say has a different frequency range. As you start to lose the ability to hear certain frequencies, you’ll start to notice that saying words, forming letters and using sounds to speak might become more difficult. 

It can be a little frightening at first, especially if you’re only starting to experience hearing loss as an adult. Not being able to form words or letters the way you’re used to is often a harrowing experience. 

Unfortunately, it can become worse over time. 

Does speech get worse without treatment? 

The brain is a fascinating thing. It can adjust to the way your body changes. In this case, if your hearing loss isn’t treated, your brain will start to adjust itself to not being able to hear certain frequencies associated with words and letters. 

As a result, your brain will interpret speech differently. If you have trouble hearing certain sounds and words there’s a good chance you’ll have trouble speaking those same sounds and words, too. 

When a child experiences hearing loss, it can impact their speech development. They might grow up not being able to communicate verbally and may have a difficult time understanding what people are saying when they speak. 

As an adult, however, if you’re experiencing hearing loss at an older age, you might still have an easier time understanding others and being able to form words yourself, if for no other reason than muscle memory. However, as stated above, as time goes on and you continue to experience hearing loss, you might find that you’ll have a harder time with your own speech, as well as understanding what others are saying. 

Unfortunately, that can lead to a variety of different mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, as well as difficulty concentrating. Some people who have trouble with their speech due to hearing loss even try to withdraw themselves from others. 

How to find the right treatment option

Hearing aids can make a big difference not only in how well you can hear others, but how well you can continue to form your own words and sounds. They can drastically improve your speech or allow you to maintain a certain consistency with it, rather than worry about the way you speak getting worse with time. 

In addition to hearing aids or other assistive technology, everything from support groups to eliminating distractions and reducing background noise can make hearing and speaking easier for you.

You might also consider trying different ways of communication, including: 

  • Visual cues
  • Pointing
  • Gestures
  • Sign language
  • Writing

It’s important to communicate in a way that is easy and effective for you, so you’re more likely to keep up with it and don’t feel limited in how you can connect with others. 

Hearing loss can absolutely have an impact on your everyday life, especially as it starts to affect your speech. And, millions of people are affected by it across the globe. But, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of being scared or overwhelmed by the changes you might be noticing. There is good news in the form of different treatment options, and you don’t have to compromise your communication just because you experience hearing loss. 

To learn more about hearing loss or what an audiologist can do for you, contact Desert Hearing Care at (480) 374-1846. We’ll be happy to work with you and answer any questions you might have about your own hearing loss, or what someone you care about might be experiencing and how we can help to limit the impact of hearing loss when it comes to your speech.