We Understand Hearing

The human ear is a wonderful, essential organ that helps people hear sounds as well as maintain a sense of balance - they are the reason we can balance ourselves in different ways. On the outside, it looks like a very simple body part with very complex functionality built in beyond what we can see. A healthy hearing is necessary for everyday things like language development, communication, work, studying, enjoying music and feeling the beauty of nature.

Our hearing plays a very important role in our ability to read and write, pay attention to signals, remember (store in memory) and recall information and improve social skills. For children, it is a prerequisite for learning new words or a new language, and prepares them for different challenges in life like classroom learning, making friends, playing and building confidence. In teenagers and young adults, hearing helps with strengthening social relationships, professional growth, hobbies and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For older people, healthy hearing is necessary for a healthy brain and overall well-being at a personal level as well as at a social level.

As we grow from children to adults to becoming old, the ability of our ears to hear starts to decline. The most common hearing-related problem is hearing loss, where the ear fails to pick up sounds at different levels of loudness. Loss of hearing can be influenced or accelerated by exposure to high levels of noise (loud sounds), certain medications, infections and also sometimes due to genetic conditions. Hearing loss is managed with the use of assistive devices like hearing aids in people of all ages. Another common hearing-related problem is tinnitus, which is the presence of a ringing or clicking sound in the ear when there is no external stimulus (no source of sound).

Auditory Processing

Sounds that are picked up by our ears are sent to regions in the brain where they are processed so that we 'understand' them. Sometimes, we may develop a problem with the way our brain processes different sounds. This is the major cause of auditory difficulties in people who have normal hearing, i.e. the person hears sounds well but their brain fails to help them understand their meaning. The inability of the auditory system in the brain to process sounds is referred to as an auditory processing disorder.

Auditory processing disorders or APD involve a completely different procedure for assessment as well as therapy, compared to hearing loss. Accurate assessment of the type and severity of auditory processing disorders requires specialized training, and is essential for devising a therapy approach based on individual needs. At AudiPro Audiology, our audiologists provide APD assessment and therapy services for people with auditory processing difficulties.