Why can’t you hear everything with hearing aids?

Some people will say to me “With your hearing aid you should be able to hear everything.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. The problem is the little hairs in the cochlea – the ones that tell the nerve endings about a sound so the nerve endings can then tell the brain that you have heard something. When we lose our hearing, the hairs die. Not all of them, but a good number. And they don’t grow back. So the sounds disappear.

We hear portions of words. The first sounds to go are the consonants – the letters that give meat and meaning to the word, surround the vowel and finish it off. We need consonants to make sure the vowels have form and structure. Otherwise, they are just sounds without meaning. Hearing aids can boost the hearing we have left, but they can’t replace the sounds we have lost.

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