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5 FAQs About Hearing Loss and Auditory Deprivation

Auditory deprivation is a condition people experience with hearing loss. It's where the individual's brain loses the ability to interpret speech because of the lack of stimulation over extended periods of time. This condition affects individuals who choose not to wear hearing aids, those who wear old hearing aids, or people who only wear one hearing aid when they need two. Surprisingly, even people who suffer from mild hearing loss can be affected by this phenomenon. If you suffer any type of hearing loss, it's vital to have your hearing loss treated to prevent the irreversible loss of functionality. Continue reading to learn the answers to five of the most frequently asked questions about auditory deprivation.

How Does Auditory Deprivation Happen?

Before you understand auditory deprivation, it's vital to understand the contrast between hearing and understanding. The role of your ears are to effectively collect sounds and send them to your brain. It's in the speech interpretation center of your brain where these sounds and interpreted into words. When your ears are unable to hear the sounds, your brain will stop receiving the electrical signals and have nothing to process. The brain will eventually lose the ability to process the sound signals for location, cause, and proximity as well as lose the ability to generate a reaction. In other words, the hearing parts of your brain will stop receiving and processing as many electrical hearing messages from your ear - even if your ears are delivering ample stimulation because the damage has already been done. Over time, the lack of stimulation in your brain can cause you to lose the ability to understand speech. Simply put, if you are unable to hear words, you will lose the ability to comprehend them.

Why Are Hearing Exams Vital?

As your vision begins to fade, most people do not immediately an optometrist until they are forced. This delay in visiting an eye care professional isn't a big deal because glasses or contact lenses will immediately correct the problem. However, the process of treating hearing loss isn't this simple. In reality, the longer your wait or delay treatment for your hearing loss, the more difficult it will be to treat it because of auditory deprivation. As a result, it's vital to seek treatment as soon as possible to reduce the damage and minimize the corrective measures.

Can All Hearing Loss Be Rectified?

Unfortunately, people who have suffered severe hearing loss over a span of several years may not be able to regenerate portions of their speech perception. However, the majority of hearing losses is rectifiable through the use of custom hearing aids. These devices will restore your ability to hear normally, while stimulating your brain to provide protection from auditory deprivation.

What Causes Auditory Deprivation?

The most common cause of auditory deprivation is neglecting to treat issues of hearing loss. In this case, inaction is the worst action and causes your nerves to become slowly weakened. Another cause is single-ear hearing aid use. This scenario causes one ear to engage in more of the listening responsibilities than the other ear. As a result, the unaided ear becomes weakened over time. While you may have saved a few bucks by only purchasing a single hearing aid, you are also causing the nerves on the depraved ear to weaken. Overtime, the unaided ear will suffer increasingly decreased functionality. By the time you decide to purchase a hearing aid for the unaided ear, you will have a much harder time adapting to sound because of the auditory deprivation.

How to Avoid Auditory Deprivation?

The best way to avoid auditory deprivation is to be proactive with the health of your hearing. It's vital to have your hearing tested on a regular basis, regardless of your age. Once you've had your exam, make sure to find the right treatment as soon as possible. If you are prescribed a hearing aid, it can only help you if you use it. Hearing aids are designed to provide your brain with the required stimulation to prevent auditory deprivation. When you use the hearing aid as prescribe, you can avoid auditory deprivation and continue to comprehend every day speech.


Auditory deprivation is viewed as the "use it or lose it" issue. Instead of rolling the dice on your ability to hear and understand speech, it's best to treat your hearing loss today. Everything starts with a simple hearing exam. After the exam, your audiologist will explain all of your options and solutions specifically designed for your level of hearing loss. Contact North Shore Hearing today to learn more about hearing loss or to schedule an appointment.

Diane Rutkowsky Faulknor, MA, CCC/A

After 18 years of experience in the field of audiology and hearing aid dispensing, I felt it was time to start my own practice which has led to the creation of North Shore Hearing, P.C. I take pride in the care I provide for my patients as hearing is not just a medical issues we need to deal with, but also the social and lifestyle ramifications that people with poor hearing live with on a day-to-day basis. Based on not only your hearing loss, but also the type of lifestyle you lead, we'll work together to fit you with the most appropriate hearing aid available in today's marketplace.

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