What is discrimination loss?
Having a hearing loss does not simply mean the inability to hear loudly enough. Some people may also have great difficulties hearing within a specific and narrow frequency region. This can result in what is known as “discrimination loss”; one can hear speech but not understand it.
Difficulties discriminating words
Discrimination loss means that some speech sounds can't be perceived by the ear and brain, making it difficult to distinguish between words and speech sounds - particularly those that are placed close to each other.
Your hearing care professional can measure speech recognition (in percent) to find out if you have a discrimination loss. The percentage of correctly identified test words is called the “speech recognition score”. This represents the difference between a perfect score of 100 percent and the score actually obtained.
Not being able to decode or guess the right words may result in insecurity in your own ability to hear. This insecurity sometimes results in people with a hearing loss “switching off”, becoming mentally unable to make use of their residual hearing.