Slow Down, You Talk Too Fast
When we see someone for a periodic hearing check-up, we often hear, “I think my hearing has gotten worse.” But as often as not, the results of the audiologic test indicate no change in hearing sensitivity or for understanding speech in quiet.
However, the conventional audio logic test does nor measure how you understand rapid speech. Another common complaint we hear is, “I just can’t keep up when people talk fast.”
We live in a fast-paced world. We’re bombarded with information and entertainment, and sometimes it comes at us at a rapid-fire pace. Ordinary speech occurs at about 150 words a minute, but some people talk at more than 225 words a minute. That means we’re trying to understand almost four words a second!
Difficulty understanding rapid speech is one of the most common hearing complaints of older adults—including those with normal hearing. The problem may be related to reduced memory abilities and an age-related decrease in the efficiency of our nervous system. This difference is seen in adults even in their 40s.
While rapid speech is difficult even for older adults with normal-hearing, it becomes easier to understand when there are occasional pauses in the speech. For anyone over the age of 50, communication is improved if the speaker uses pauses and phrases to allow the listener to “catch up.”
Of course, understanding rapid speech is more difficult if you have a hearing loss. Most people with hearing loss say that understanding fast speech is harder than understanding soft speech. Based on these findings, then, you should ask the speakers around you to:
- Get my attention before you speak to me
- Speak at a normal rate (speaking slowly is not helpful; just don’t speak fast)
- Use pauses
- Face me when you talk to me
These simple steps should make life a little easier for you and for the people around you.
Copyright 2018 Hearing Healthcare News