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OCT

Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014

How Hearing Helps People See Better

Sunrise on ocean.

Sound is translated by hair cells into the language of the ears. This language gives the brain an adequate interpretation of the noise and its source but also of the spatial environment. In other words, our ears are helpful in spatial recognition, something that many people consider to be the job of the eyes. This defining of the spatial environment is one of the reasons people who have problems with hearing might also have balance or location issues.

Approximately 100 million nerve cells are responsible for the human interpretation of sound, but all of these signals depend on two ears. The ears work together to create an accurate picture of the environment and locating where sound is coming from. These are things the ears do automatically, in a fraction of a second. Scientist who develop auditory equipment to mimic hearing, therefore have to take into account how to make hearing aids that can achieve this same kind of "sight", allowing those with hearing loss to better see the world.

Today's hearing aids incorporate spatial and locational technologies to give wearers the same organic awareness of environment as natural hearing, and also have the ability to eliminate background noise.

Not having the ability to locate sound or adequately assess spatial environment is not something that is obvious to outside observers. This is why children with hearing loss are often misdiagnosed with ADD or other cognitive issues. Hearing loss can often give the impression not that the person does not hear well, but that the person is not able to correctly interpret, at a normal speed, the world around them. The importance of good hearing cannot be emphasized enough. It's important, especially for children diagnosed with behavioral or cognitive problems, to be tested by a hearing health professional. As this inspirational TedX talk shows. Hearing loss in children is often misdiagnosed.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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