Having difficulties communicating can be a serious issue for the affected individual as well as family members. The onset of dementia as well as hearing loss are just some of the reasons why some find it difficult to make conversation. For those who have trouble understanding speech, finding out the cause is the first step toward making necessary changes.
Cause of Communication Problems
If you’re having trouble understanding speech, several factors can play a role:
- Hearing loss
- Early signs of dementia
- Brain injury/cancer
- Other serious conditions
Study on Speech Comprehension Difficulties Not Linked to Hearing Loss
In a recent study by scientists at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, researchers concluded that having trouble understanding speech may be linked to the deterioration of the brain’s understanding thereof.
Here, a significant number of participants reported hearing loss even though no hearing loss was detectable. Scientists concluded that the reasons people had trouble understanding speech had been wrongly attributed to hearing loss in some cases.
In addition, they attributed these difficulties to understand the brain’s declining ability to process speech. As people age, they appear to require more time to process speech.
Conversation Setting Plays an Important Role
In a separate study, researchers at the University of Maryland sought to find out why some elderly people have trouble understanding speech, especially if there is a lot of background noise.
Here they concluded that speaking louder does not always help. Instead, reducing background noise and speaking more slowly can help.
Having trouble understanding speech may or may not point to hearing loss. As we age, our brain’s ability to process speech effectively declines, even if no hearing loss exists.
Nonetheless, hearing tests are necessary to find out whether hearing loss is also an issue.