One of the first signs of hearing loss is when someone, who typically hears well in quiet environments, asks the question ‘Why can’t I hear in noisy places?’
Even for someone with normal hearing, noisy settings can be tricky to navigate when trying to make out speech. That’s because we all tend to use contextual cues — or clues from words we do make out — to fill in the gaps we miss or don’t make out due to background noise.
Background noise tends to mask the finer sounds of speech — like higher-pitched consonants — which makes it difficult for even those with normal hearing thresholds to hear properly in noisy places.
Add to that, the variable of hearing loss, and these situations can be incredibly strenuous, as the brain is not always able to separate speech from the background noise and fill in the blanks of those missed sounds. Even when it can, the cognitive fatigue that we undergo in these situations can be exhausting.
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