High frequency hearing loss

I recently purchased my first pair of hearing aids (Audibel LX-300’s) due to a loss of hearing at high frequencies and have only had them for a few days, so I’m a total newbie when it comes to hearing aids. Unaided, all I hear is a tinny/rattling sound at the higher tones which takes the pleasure from listening to music and makes it very difficult to understand TV shows. I’m also starting to miss more and more words when people speak to me, especially women with higher pitched voices or children. I hear fine at lower frequencies and have no problem with faint sounds. Your standard elderly sensorineural loss, according to my audiologist.

My question is this: Even with the aids, I’m still hearing the rattling sound at higher frequencies, especially when watching TV or listening to music. They aren’t helping much at all in those situations. Is that normal or are they just not adjusted properly? She reduced the high frequency gain at my original fitting because I was hearing that rattling noise occasionally when she spoke. That removed it, so I’m wondering if maybe I just need to have the gain reduced some more.

I’d appreciate any advice/suggestions. If this is the best I can expect, I’m inclined to return them at the end of my 30 day trial period because they really aren’t doing enough good to be worth the cost.

I have the same high tone issues as you do.

I have had a pair of Unitron element 16’s for two years, It took three setting
changes to get it right. I really liked their performance.

I just recently a had a chance to try out a pair of Phonak Exelia micros.
Boy what a difference a couple of generational improvements make.

First and last fitting no problems , no issues. I keep on trying different
settings to test them. Still no problems.

I would give these aids some more adjustments, if that doesn’t work I
would move on the another manufacturer until you are happy with their
performance. If you are going to spend your money on HA’s it should
be on ones that work for you.

Tom

Dizzy7 said in part…

First off… I’m not a Audi or BC-HIS, nor do I play one on T.V. That being said…

A HA does NOT improve and/or fix ones “speech recognition”. It only increases the volume in the frequency range that you’re able to understand anyways.

As a example: if the natural hearing in your ear has problems recognizing the f, s and th sounds (which are between 4,000 - 7,000 Hz), then NO amount of amplification is going to help. If you can’t hear or understand those letter sounds in that frequency range… then you CAN’T hear or understand them!

Here’s a link to a web site page that explains it much better than I can. Part way down it talks about (and has diagrams on) Hearing Loss and Speech Intelligibility. I hope this answers some of your questions.

http://www.hdhearing.com/learning/part2

Shi-Ku Chishiki ShiKu.Chishiki@Gmail.com

Thank you, Shi-Ku Chishiki. Now I have a much better idea of how to interpret my audiogram.

One thing you said confuses me. My audiogram indicates that
my hearing is in the normal 10-20dB range thru 1500Hz, then both left and right begin to drop rapidly, to 50L and 40R at 2000 before flat lining at 70L and 60R from 3000 to 8000Hz. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that even with HA I will always hear only the same rattling noise I hear now when someone says a vowel which appears above my hearing range on my audiogram since I can’t hear those sounds unaided. I had thought the a HA would (for example) increase my ability to hear a 4000Hz sound from it’s unaided 60-70dB volume to 30dB or better so that I would be able to hear the “f, s, and th” sounds more or less normally. If I’ll never hear consonants clearly even with HA, is there any point in me continuing to have them adjusted or even bothering to wear them?

I disagree with the comment that Shi-Ku Chishiki made that gave the impression that your ability to understand speech doesn’t improve with hearing aids. If that were the case, why spend the money.

I know for certain that the people I thought used to mumble I now hear much more clearly with my aids than I ever did without them.

what hearing aid do you have?

Audibel LX-300’s.

That was my reasoning also. I thought improved ability to understand speech was the main purpose for buying hearing aids, and that was what I found confusing about Shi-Ku Chishiki’s repoonse.

dizzy7 my loss it HF too and I the same thing when I got my America Hears brand last fall. I went into the software and dropped the amp on those sounds and it helped a lot. As to see if they will clip those some for you so those sounds do not bother you so. Over time you can add it back often.

Best of luck. Many of us have been where you are today and it is no fun.

While lower cost aids may just amplify the various frequencies, the upper echelon aids do more. Phonak, for example, has what they call SoundRecover, which remaps those sounds to a frequency that you can hear. I’m not a specialist, nor totally familiar with exactly how it works, so don’t ask. I just know that it works. With my Phonak Audeo YES IX’s, which are among Phonak’s current top of line and not cheap, I can hear and understand speech like never before. A boss at my company who has a very high pitched little girl’s voice, who I never thought I’d ever be able to hear, comes in loud and clear now and I can understand at least 95%, if not more, of what she’s saying on the first try, without "huh"s

Heilk thank you for your post.

If you read my statement again, along with the link I have, I didn’t say (as a positive absolute), that one wouldn’t be able to understand speech. Per the information on the linked page, what I said was (and as pointed out on the other web site), if your hearing loss is such that you have damage in certain freq ranges… then a Hearing Aid isn’t going to repair/fix that which is the problem.

Looking at what Dizzy7 said about his hearing loss, ie: 50@2,000 and flat lining 70 from 3,000 - 8,000 this is what the Audi charts tell us. 50db is considered the middle range of a Moderate hearing loss… while 70db is just at the high end of a Moderate to Severe loss. A Severe loss starts at 71db.

  1. Consonants are higher pitched than vowels (they lie more from freq’s 1,000 to 8,000) and are spoken more softly than vowels (they lie in the lower 30 to 20 db ranges).

  2. Consonants convey most of the word information; they are much more important to speech intelligibility than vowels.

  3. Consonants are more important than vowels in understanding speech.

  4. Consonants are spoken more softly than vowels, and they tend to get drowned out in noisy environments.

  5. Consonants are higher-pitched than vowels and and most hearing loss occurs in the higher frequencies.

Looking at the above… and considering Dizzy7’s Freq/Db loss, I stand by my statement, ie: “If you can’t hear or understand the letter sounds in a specific frequency range, then you CAN’T hear or understand them… no matter if you’re wearing HA’s or not!”

Looking at it a different way: "If you don’t know how to swim, then wearing a pair of swim fins isn’t going to help you out… no matter how much you want them to.

Once again… I hope I’ve been able to help you out.

Shi-Ku Chishiki ShiKu.Chishiki@Gmail.com

If you’d said this in the first place we’d have had no issue with your post, which made no mention of “damage in certain freq ranges…” or if it did it was very obtuse.

This isn’t true. If a user has a 50-70db loss at the 4,000-7000 frequencies, wearing a hearing aid that boosts these frequencies results in a MUCH greater ability to hear speech in normal listening environments.

I’m going to take a stab here that when you say “rattling noise” you are referring to a type of damage to the ear called “r…” Sorry, cant remember what the word is (can anyone help here?). But what I’m referring to is the uncomfortable sound that is heard inside the head when clacking dishes in the sink. It’s a kind of extra sound that sort of echos in the head and is quite annoying and sounds louder than one would like. So, if this is what you are talking about, then this might help:

This type of damage (from what I have read and surmised) is caused by certain damaged cilia in the choclea at certain frequencies (probably around the 500hz-1khz area) and when they are stimulated they send out overwhelming signals to the brain that generate this type of sound. The key is to try and minimize the amount of sound getting into your ear at these certain frequencies where this type of damage lies and instead just kick up the gain at frequencies above this (around the 2k-7k range or 4k-7k range) to allow you to hear the sssss and th sounds in speech which is very important. So your audi might want to try setting the aid with more boost at the very high frequencies and less boost in the area where this “rattling” occurs. Also set your volume control so that you are not boosting the overall sound more than you need, quiter is better here while still boosting the higher frequencies.

This is a pretty tricky thing to overcome, but for sure, with the right aid and the right setting, the rattling can be minimized (or at least not increased) while stll allowing you to hear very soft talking (across a quiet room for example) very well and also talking in medium noise environments. Unfortunately in much louder environments, the rattling will probably mask speech and make it more difficult to hear talking and an aid will be less effective in this type of situation (like in a restaurant with clacking dishes).

All this is my opinion and I’m not an expert.

I’d be interested in hearing how others with this type of problem have over come it.

Nafai, you actually described what I was hearing better than I did. I suspect you’re right in that the “rattling” sound I was hearing occurred at fairly low frequencies and not high ones as I had thought. I had another adjustment last week, and she lowered the gain across all frequencies. That reduced the rattling sound, but I started hearing a hissing noise when someone said the “s” or “th” sound, exactly what you said would happen if the high frequency gain is reduced too far.

I live in a small town, and the Audibel office is only open 1 day a week. It just wasn’t working out having to wait a week between adjustments, so I decided to return them and order a pair from Hear America (Freedom 312 SIE’s.) I really like the idea of being able to make adjustments myself and/or get adjustments from them as frequently as needed. Paying $2000 instead of $4000 isn’t bad either. When they arrive, I’ll keep your suggestions in mind when making adjustments.

Thanks for your advice. I suspect that I’ll have more questions when the new aids arrive.

What’s the use of hearing aids then?

Point 4 is clearly inaccurate - just say a reasonably long word with your fingers plugging your ears and you’ll hear the louder consonants.

As for the overall argument, I’d say the only reason you wear a hearing system is to improve your understanding of speech in the areas that you are struggling.