Yes we can all chuckle about this joke. We can laugh and think this is funny but for many this mistake is reality. You yourself may notice that you make this mistake or that loved ones, coworkers, or friends, may be making this mistake.
Why does this happen? Why can someone hear but it is difficult to understand speech?
For many adults who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, damage to the hearing system passes incomplete messages to the brain. More than 50% of adults over age 65 have some degree of presbycusis or hearing loss in the higher frequencies. These adults often have difficulty hearing certain higher pitch sounds such as a bird chirping , certain phones ringing and particular sounds of the English language. Because our language is comprised of a combination of vowels, which are lower in frequency, and consonants which are higher in frequency, an individual with high frequency hearing loss, might notice that they can hear, but they can’t understand. In English, consonants envelop vowels to give meaning to speech and hearing only vowels and limited consonant sounds offer opportunities for misunderstanding.
These situations in which words and sounds can be misinterpreted can be very frustrating for both the speaker and the listener. When this situation occurs, a complete audiologic evaluation followed by appropriate amplification if necessary is recommended.
It is a new year so why not do something good for your health and well-being. If you are missing sounds of speech and things so garbled and unclear, see an audiologist! You don’t want you to be the butt of any jokes!