Ovens & Murray Advertiser - North East Regional Extra

An age-old question with a new answer


IF a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

This is an age-old philosophi­cal question and the answer depends on what we mean by “sound”.

If we say that sound is defined as what we can hear, then the answer is obviously “no”.

However, “sound” is a physical property, caused by vibrations travelling through the air (or perhaps water or the ground), caused by something moving.

Although the sounds made by a tree falling may not be heard by anyone, it does make a lot of sound.

Applying this idea to what we recall following a conversati­on can lead to some interestin­g thoughts.

When we are listening, our brain receives a message from our ears (and probably our eyes and other senses simultaneo­usly) and assigns meaning to the message.

If we are not listening or can’t hear, we won’t recall what has been said.

For someone with a hearing loss, the message may be either incomplete and not make sense or not be heard at all.

They might say that the message was not even spoken, while the speaker may say that the message has been forgotten.

The brain cannot remember what it has not heard.

In the audiology clinic, we frequently are told by the client that they get frustrated by a lack of communicat­ion from their friends and family (“they don’t get my attention, talk too softly, etc”).

The opposite story comes from friends and family, who frequently observe that the client is becoming forgetful and unresponsi­ve, or is just not listening.

As the brain cannot remember what it has not heard, the effect of a too-soft communicat­ion is that a message was not said at all.

To improve this situation for a client with a hearing loss, the first step is to improve the message reaching the brain by amplifying the sound appropriat­ely.

Sometimes this is done by the listener cupping their ear or moving closer.

Sometimes hearing aids may be recommende­d and many people are amazed not only by the improvemen­t in the spoken messages from their family and friends but also the environmen­tal sounds which they have been missing.

Assuming the listener is able to hear the message well, the next step is to ensure that they are paying attention - no one will be able to recall the message if they are not paying attention. So even if someone has appropriat­ely fitted amplificat­ion, make sure to get their attention before speaking.

If you are concerned about your hearing, it may be time to have a hearing check.

You can contact Wangaratta Audiology on (03) 5722 4433.

 ?? Diana Bienvenu, Wangaratta Audiology ?? with
Diana Bienvenu, Wangaratta Audiology with

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