Finding Your Dead Hearing Area's

Anyone with more than 70db of loss or with very rapid changes in threshold losses (steep curve) of their audiogram, most likely has some dead area’s. A dead region is defined as a part of the cochlea that does not evoke any true response. Often these dead or severely degenerated area’s will give a false response to high levels of pure tone testing by vibrating adjacent good area’s.

Professionals should use a masking system called the TEN test to find these dead spots.

Anyone at home can get a pretty good indication of their dead spots (if any) by using the following method using a PC and its speakers:

First download a audio program that has the piano scale like:

Then aided and un-aided listen carefully to each piano note; If you have perfect normal hearing you would hear each successive tone as a sustained musical note for about 2 seconds…and clicking on the next piano tone should result in a continuously rising (or falling) of pitch. If you click on a note and just get a thud or the pitch does not change then in all likelihood you have a dead or severely degenerated region at that musical frequency.

Note: The customary pure tone threshold of hearing test (Audiogram) given by a professional will not detect dead area’s in most cases. Many times the professional will mistakenly program the aids boosting the gain at the dead area. This usually results in overloading and poorer speech comprehension. Ed

I is very subjective test, While there are others many people do not administer ten test. There is not even a equipment for ten so it is not
really fully standarized… Most of the people that fit aids with frquency transposition that I know do not even perform ten test…

Extreme q vaporizer

That keyboard is depressing me. Too many high dead keys. I will try it again after I get my aides tomorrow. It will be a good test. Thanks for posting it.

I adjusted the sound volume so I could just hear the top of the scale, then removed my aids. The last 4 keys on the top (right) weren’t audible. Just another confirmation for me that my GN Resound Pulse’s are helping. :stuck_out_tongue:

That is an excellent way to see how much aides really help. I will be busy tomorrow getting used to my first HAs, but I will definitely trying out your method.

do remember some aids treat high pitch sounds as feedback signals and inmediatly suppress them… This is why should approach is not the best


If HAs suppress high sounds as feedback, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose for an HA in improving high frequency hearing loss?

BUT, I could hear the entire scale with my aids, but not the top 4 without my aids. Feedback suppression wasn’t an issue in this case.

Knowing the note frequencies in neat. Would a real piano be a better test
as there are no electonics or speakers to worry about?

I know for a fact that my recently repaired aid was turned down for higher
frequencies do to feedback. And yes it sounds different (worst) and kind
of defeats the purpose of hearing hearing higher frequencies. Basically
what I get for attempting a repair…time for new aids.

I should have included information in my original post that testing for dead area’s with the hearing aids has two problems.

As pointed out the feedback suppression systems adversely react to the continuous piano notes. If you have a music program use it…if not and you can… turn off the feedback suppression. If not do the test without aids ,just kick up the volume on the PC.

The second problem with testing with aids is that often the professional will mistakenly crank up the gain in your dead area’s. Dumping high amounts of output into a dead area will almost certainly vibrate the basilar membrane (the thing in the cochlea that drives the neurons to excite the auditory cortex) sufficiently that adjacent good area’s will respond giving a false response. This almost certainly will reduce speech comprehension.

Getting more picky, ideally the test should use very high quality earphones to avoid speaker and room resonances. But the little PC speakers will do a fair job and give an approximation. Ed

you are forgetting,
most modern hearing aids have some sort of noise reduction
it might happen that the hearing instrument could treath such sound as noise…


xbulder: Unless I am mistaken, all you need for the TEN test is a standard audiometer (threshold tester) with VU meters and the TEN CD. And a little patience. Professor Moore recommends that you use a high quality linear set of headphones which you would use with any professional grade testing.

Quoting Prof. Moore: It is not possible to determine from the pure tone audiogram alone whether or not a patient has a dead region. Ed

I heard from an informal conversation with someone at widex
that the software takes assumes dead region after 80 to 90 dbhl in the higher frequencies… there is still a lot do be done,


true, but like the ten to be like the hint test… It is worth the $ paid


I got my new aides today. I tried out the piano scale that Ed121 gave a link to with and without the aides. I now understand what xbulder was talking about with the noise reduction. With the aides on, the higher notes are more like taps than tones. I guess the noise reduction is changing the sound of them. Wearing aides is interesting.

MVpinFLA: I would bet that you have some dead area’s at those high notes with the clunk sound.

Don’t think most aid’s noise filters would mistake a piano’s notes for noise…yes, the aid might think the tone is feedback and attemp to suppress it.

To get a more accurate assessment it is important to plug one ear at a time. Or use headphones with the PC balance control muting one side at a time.

For those with severe/profound loss, some notes may get through to the other (good?) ear through bone conduction.

As said in original post this is an approximation or indication of the existence of dead area’s. To do this accurately, you would need masking. In my opinion, for very high accuracy you would need a professionally administered TEN test or equivalent. Ed