Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my hearing when I am out for dinner with friends?
Why is it so difficult to hear in a group?
How can I encourage others to speak more clearly?
How can I hear when people mumble so much?
Why do I find it easier to hear in some settings yet have so much difficulty in other places?
Why do I have so much difficulty understanding someone with an accent?

When you have a hearing loss, you cannot hear all the sounds people say and your ears cannot send all the information to the brain. You can only see a selection of speech sounds spoken that are on the lips and tongue (speechreading) towards the front of the mouth.

Approximately 90% of our communication is nonverbal such as our facial expression, tone of voice, distance from the other speaker and our use of gestures. This makes these nonverbal information cues important when combined with cues from the conversational environment and memory: your brain interprets the whole picture and then works hard to fill in the gaps.

When you are listening to someone with an accent, they may use different nonverbal communication. Also, the way they structure their sentences may be different to how you commonly form sentences and their production of speech sounds may be more like their language than yours. As a result the brain receives less familiar information and this makes it more difficult to fill in the gaps and understand the person with the accent.

This communication skill is covered in our Managing Your Hearing Loss Course.

To register your interest in our Managing Your Hearing Loss Course please email:

Why does my partner seem to have 'selective' listening?