Where does hearing happen?
If you’re like most people, you probably think hearing happens in your ears. But that's not the case. Hearing happens between your ears, in the hearing part of your brain. That’s where sound becomes information that has meaning.
When you listen to a conversation, your ears and your brain work together as a system and it's your brain that does the heavy lifting. Right now, four tasks—orient, recognize, focus, and separate—are happening inside your brain.
1. Your brain uses the information from your two ears to orient you by figuring out which direction the sound is coming from.
2. Inside your brain, sound waves become sounds that you recognize.
3. While you're listening, your brain is what helps you focus in on a conversation,
4. And separate out unwanted noise.
Why Does it Matter?
Have you ever thought "My hearing is ok, if I just concentrate hard enough?" Or "My current hearing aids are fine, I just get tired easily when using them"?
If your brain is not getting the right sounds to work with, it takes intense effort to create meaning. When the sound signals from your ears are compromised, your brain must work even harder to fill in the gaps. This extra effort can take its toll. In fact, studies have shown that, over time, hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression. That’s why it’s important that your brain, not just your ears, gets the support it needs.