I know I’m digging a dead old thread here but I came across it while searching for word discrimination.
I would like to add my personal experience in case someone referred to it in the future, I was born with hearing loss in both ears, nerve damage, Since my childhood I have always believed that my left ear was near deaf compared to my right ear since I was able to recognize speech only with my right ear regardless of how loud the sound was, I can talk on the phone or mobile with the right ear with no issues but would never understand a word from my left. For 30 years I have totally relied on my right ear and entirely ignored my left one even after wearing an aid 8 years ago in the right and thought a left aid would be worthless.
I was surprised when my new Audiologist showed and discussed my Audiogram for the 1st time few years back and informed me that there is insignificant difference between the loss in both ears and that they are nearly similar, while for me it was like day and light.
7 months ago, I had finally decided to get fitted with 2 hearing aids which was very annoying at first and affecting my ability to understand due to the sounds coming into my left ear however, few months later and after some adaptation, I can now notice that turning off my left hearing aid has a high impact on my hearing and speech recognition, I still can’t hear or understand using my left one on its own but it is now indeed assisting and improving the overall process.
Through my personal experience, I believe that word discrimination is a physical deficiency due to the clarity and quality of the sound being delivered with the nerve damage and hair cells etc… affecting how severe it can be however, with some exercise, your brain can learn how to benefit from the sounds it can gather from the ear.