A man was telling his neighbor, “I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but its state of the art. It’s perfect.”

Really,” answered the neighbor. “What kind is it?

Twelve thirty.

Suffering from a hearing loss isn’t a laughing matter. But, you have to admit, it does affect your ability to communicate properly, which can lead to some uncomfortable and even embarrassing situations that may seem funny – only to other people.

Missing a few words here or there is no big deal; it happens to the best of us.

Sometimes people get distracted and they fail to pay attention to what’s being said. Sometimes there’s just too much background noise and things simply can’t be heard clearly. Sometimes the person speaking just didn’t articulate clearly enough . . . None of those are good reason to go out and buy a pair of hearing aids.

On the other hand, Harvard Medical School claims nearly 20% of Americans between 26-69 years of age suffer from permanent hearing loss due to excessive noise exposure.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “age-related hearing loss” (presbycusis) affects about 30% – 35% of adults between ages 65 and 70, and 40% to 50% of people ages 75 and older.

By the way, being hard of hearing doesn’t mean you’re deaf anymore than someone wearing prescriptive glasses is considered blind. So, please keep in mind, when you’re speaking to someone who is hard of hearing or someone wearing a hearing aid . . . Don’t Yell At Them!!!

Most people suffering from a hearing condition are simply not getting all the frequencies needed to hear the full spectrum of speech. No matter which language you speak, the sounds are heard within a limited range of frequencies.

Just as a piano has a limited number of keys, 88 to be exact, human speech is likewise limited to a measurable range of sounds.

It’s a scientific fact that all languages use specific frequencies on “the piano of speech.” Yet, the fact remains all human speech, no matter what language, is heard within the same frequency range.

Human speech ranges from about 500 cycles per second (cps) to as high as 5000 cps. Human hearing ranges from around 20 cps to as high as 20,000 cps.

So, literally, the frequency range of human speech is very close to the range of a standard piano. Detecting a hearing loss on your own is nearly impossible simply because you don’t know what you’re missing.

Detecting a hearing loss in a conversation isn’t much easier simply because there are several variables involved.

Think of the average hearing loss as a piano that’s partially out of tune or even in some cases, missing a few strings.

Each frequency or string represents certain sounds of letters used in language. If you’re only missing a few letters of the alphabet, then you can usually get by.

Either your brain gets good at guessing or you pick up clues from reading lips.

So, get your ears tested annually so you can find out what you’re missing.

P.S. If caught soon enough, then you can rehabilitate fading speech skills. Just remember: If you don’t use it . . . you will lose it.