Why Your Friends & Family Mumble

Jeffrey J. Johnston, BC-HIS Family & Relationships, Hearing Loss

Jeffrey J. Johnston, BC-HIS

When people come into my office for a free hearing screening we start out with a general conversation about their hearing health history and how they feel they hear. Often times they will tell me that the think they hear okay except for the people who mumble. These are usually those folks who are close to the patient. In other words, it’s the people who spend a good amount of time with them. Most often it is a spouse, children or grandchildren, or a good friend. I will then ask them when this person became a “mumbler”, or to say it another way, when did they start noticing their hearing loss.

In fairness to those of us who hear less clearly than we used to, this mumbling thing is real, though usually it is related to the hearing loss and not the speaker. As our hearing changes, more often than not, it affects the higher pitch tones. It’s in these higher tones where the soft consonant sounds like the “s”, “f”, and “th” reside. These are the parts of words that make them make sense. It’s what differentiates the words teach, reach, beach and peach. When these sounds are missing the words get jumbled together. As hearing loss progresses it becomes more difficult to understand what the words are when someone speaks fast, isn’t facing you, or has a “soft” voice.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, give us a call, we are the experts at fixing the mumblers in your life.