Describing hearing loss to others


How do y’all describe your hearing loss? I try to get my wife to understand why I have trouble understanding her.

My loss is in the severe to profound range. Generally sound volume is not so much of a problem as lack of clarity especially in a reverberant environment (even in my living room if my wife is not close). It sometimes sounds like people are speaking from the bottom of a barrel. And, of course, noisy places are much worse.

I have KS7 aids. Maybe I should get them tweaked. I’m eligible for insurance coverage for new aids every 3 years, (next year).

I have a setting with frequency shifting turned off but can not notice a difference from the default. There is also a music setting but again little difference.

The noisy setting seems to provide very little help. In small group meetings (in a quiet room) I turn the volume all the way up but it helps very little. Mainly a higher volume setting makes noise from my hair and from putting on glasses much louder.

— Fred



Yes, you should probably get them tweaked. I’m guessing you need more help with soft sounds above 2000 hz. Tell the hearing aid fitter what you told us. Understanding speech in noise is a challenge for most of us. What will likely help most with your wife is better communication strategies. Ask her to get your attention before she starts talking and do it from within the same room. If she starts talking from another room, go ahead and walk to where she is. Frequency shifting is not just an or off thing. Default settings are often too weak. I’d guess you’d need a start frequency of no more than 3khz. From my experience, frequency lowering is eaiser to tolerate if worked up to gradually. On the other hand, it’s not likely to make a huge difference in speech. It is dramatic for hearing bird and insect sounds though!

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There is a soundtrack that simulates what a hearing impaired person hears in the real world. The soundtrack was made for people with normal hearing to get the idea how hard it is for hearing impaired persons to hear in different environments.



@ MDB: Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I often do try to get closer to my wife to hear her better.

@Terost: Do you have a link for “a soundtrack that simulates what a hearing impaired person hears in the real world”


#5 website has a hearing loss simulator. There’s another website that has online hearing loss simulation.



There is also a simulator from NIOSH here, which was designed to demonstrate noise induced hearing loss to workers, but it has an option that will allow you to input your own audiogram (whith the limitation that it only goes down to 80 decibels).

You can also set up your own sound files, so you could actually record your wife and then she can hear what you hear. Background noise can also be added and you can input files for that as well, and change the level between the two.

Of course the one major limitation that all of these have is that none of them demonstrate what it sounds like through the hearing aids, so you still have to make sure people understand that the aids don’t give you normal back.



Another vote for NIOSH



My WRS is about 70% – significantly less in day-to-day conversation, so I spend a lot of time trying to figure out was said. I tell people being HOH is sort of like learning a foreign language before you “think” in that language. When I hear something that isn’t immediately comprehensible (usually in groups), I have to try to figure out what was said based on context, facial expression, etc. Suspect I’m not the only one who has smiled or nodded hoping I’m conveying the appropriate emotion…

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I would get your wife to check out the 3 min hearing test online at specsavers will give her a insight of what problems you have with your hearing,



Can I use electronic hearing protection at the time of the shooting?