How Your Hearing Really Works: Turning Chaos Into Conversation

Dr. Hope Rowe, an AudigyCertified™ audiologist at Blue Wave Hearing Centers in Bentonville, understands that even though the hearing system is responsible for encoding speech sounds, it’s the brain that decodes meaningful conversation. Dr. Rowe describes the way research is helping us to understand exactly how our brains pick up speech and turn it into useful thoughts: “Known as phonemes, these syllables, breaks, and intonations are meaningless on their own, yet, amazingly, the brain is able to arrange them into patterns it recognizes as speech, even in noisy environments with other competing conversations occurring simultaneously. What enters our ears as a flood of sound is automatically processed and sorted into consonants, vowels, pauses, and pitches — it’s an amazing system that turns sounds into language.”

Hearing and understanding the world around you isn’t entirely your ears’ job, according to the results of a study conducted at Trinity College in Dublin. Using electrodes placed on a person’s scalp — a noninvasive procedure known as electroencephalography — researchers pinpointed the parts of the brain responsible for processing each individual sound involved in speech.

The study highlighted two important points:

  1. Electroencephalography should prove very useful in future attempts to understand how the brain processes speech, something that is currently a mystery.
  2. Consistently visiting your hearing care provider is of the utmost importance.

At Blue Wave Hearing Centers, our doctors are specially trained to understand the entirety of the ear-to-brain connection and the long-term effects hearing loss can have on your hearing and your life. Highly trained audiologists, like Dr. Hope Rowe, can work with you to identify your hearing lifestyle so they can improve your life. Getting that proper examination, diagnosis, and counseling from a skilled audiologist is a recipe for success.

It is important to maintain hearing health — so help someone you love understand speech more clearly. When you refer a friend or family member, they will receive a FREE hearing screening and consultation through the end of the month. Call our practice for more details at 479.202.9646 or visit our website for more information on our services and providers.