I would estimate that the majority of hearing losses that we fit are high frequency hearing losses. This can cause people to 'hear but not understand' since they are missing much of the high frequency speech components, generally the consonants of speech. Words will sound like they 'run together' and extra background noise can make speech understanding extremely difficult. In many cases, we can still improve the speech clarity by raising the high frequency amplification of the hearing aids. However, there are some more severe cases where the high frequency hearing is virtually missing or unaidable.
Frequency Compression is a relatively new technology that allows us to 'compress' or 'move' the high frequencies that a person cannot hear, to a lower frequency where their hearing is better. This can make it possible for the patient to understand speech, where before they could not. Several of today's hearing systems are equipped with some type of frequency compression feature. Furthermore, I have had a fair amount of success in using this option to improve speech understanding. So if you are having difficulties in this area, please contact us to see if you might benefit from this technology.