How to describe my hearing loss to people who don't know anything about hearing loss?

Basically, if I think about it this way, I have normal hearing from 125-2000, and from 2000 to 8000 it is mostly severe, with some moderate and some profound. So that means out of almost 0-8000, from 2000-8000 is severe, on average, which means 1-2000 is normal and 2000-8000 is not, so wonder if I am correct to say 6000/8000 = 3/4 75%, so would it be reasonable to say I am 75% deaf in one ear? Or should I say half deaf in one ear?

No, that would not be a reasonable description. Percentage of hearing loss really don’t make much sense. Google “Speech Banana” and look at your hearing loss in terms of it. There are only a few speech sounds your right ear wouldn’t hear: f,th, s and maybe k. So if you want to describe it you could describe it that way, and/or that you can’t hear high pitched sounds like some birds and insects. However the hearing in your other ear is quite good.

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I googled it and I see that th, f and s are missing. However, so are p, h, g and k.

If the good ear is at all masked, such as from the wind of an open car window, it was difficult to have a conversation. Even with the car window closed, while driving with my bad ear facing my 8 year old daughter in the back seat, I was having no trouble being aware she was talking, but lots of trouble understanding her high pitched voice.

I was not hearing the doorbell or the kitchen timer from upstairs… I think if one ear is doing all the work, it does get tired. Sometimes life is not on that side. There is a reduced range of distance for hearing, too. The lack of balance was starting to make me nauseous at times, as the loss around 3000 is recent.

You could very well benefit from a hearing aid although I don’t think it would provide a dramatic effect. I was mainly quibbling with your percentage description and trying to provide another way to describe your loss.

Thanks…yes I am definitely benefitting…my daughter can vouch for that. :slight_smile: I am on summer vacation from teaching, but I am sure the students in my class will vouch for it too (some of them will be with me again next year).

To me it is dramatic. I am going from one ear to two. When I would put an earbud into my bad ear and listen to music, without the good one, the lyrics were often unintelligible. Compared to not hearing anything at all, yes, it is not as dramatic as that.

I guess I would say, if you had low vision in one eye and then got a pair of glasses that allowed you to see almost normally out of both of your two eyes, would that feel dramatic? I think it would be a relief.

I just wish I could wear this in the shower. I actually don’t want to take a shower until my daughter goes to bed. My husband has a low and loud deep voice, though, so it’s not so critical for talking with him.

Who are you trying to describe your loss to? I’m not sure “75% loss” is that useful to anyone. Better to describe your functional difficulties and what behaviours they can adopt to help you out.

At the moment not trying to describe it to anyone but myself. Usually in the past I have told people “I don’t hear very good out of this ear”, and point to the bad ear. But I’ve only done that out of frustration, almost never pro-actively.

:grinning: I imagine there might be better strategies that would help you to avoid the frustration. At least with friends and family.

I mean, what WOULD they need to do to help you out?

I have managed with friends and family. I usually avoid large group conversations. I usually just avoid the situations that might be frustrating. At work it’s not always posible to do that. I usually end up telling students I have a bad ear after I have had a series of mis-hears or times I have just not been aware. I have told co workers who are friends, too. They know why I usually walk right up to them and avoid talking from a distance, and why I try to stand so my good ear is towards them. I am expecting that with my new aid I won’t need to do that. Just tonight I went to a social
event for my daughter and I found it helpful. This being beach and pool season, I am going to have to take it in and out and get comfortable doing that in front of friends. I am guessing that it will be fine to do that. No need to go to the bathroom to do it…just like taking off glasses.

I teach at a community college. My students are all adults. During the first class of the semester, I tell them that I cannot hear at all without hearing aids, and that they have to speak to me face to face, or I cannot understand them. I show them my hearing aids, which are large BTE ones.

I tell that I have profound haring loss, and show my hearing aids wherever I go and whenever I meet somebody for the first time. They know I am serious when they see large BTE hearing aids. And they become more careful and attentive, then talk to me to my face.


There’s a good way to describe hearing loss, I used the describe it as “hearing a piano which lacks some keys”.

Until I found the example exactly as is. Open the attached link and play a “normal” song (classic music or rock), then play different versions of that song with conductive loss or sensorineural loss.


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I say, I can’t hear at the high end. That is where sounds like S, t, th etc are heard. So I can hear you speaking but without my hearing aids I can’t understand what you are saying. And I haven’t heard crickets or cymbals in years.

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I’ve noticed I can hear some people better than others because some people pronounce and project their speech well and others either mumble, talk to soft, or just do not pronounce well and that adds to the stress of concentration for me. I think adults and especially young people should go back to school and take a public speaking course.

It’s all about consonants. Some people don’t show lip action when speaking. Some of the French in the Louisiana area talk with their mouths almost shut. Almost gritting their teeth. Good bunch of people.

I have noticed the same. Some people are soft spoken and have a high pitched voice, and that makes them more difficult. Some very noisy restaurants still require extra concentration on my part, even with my wonderful hearing aid helping me, but it is much less draining and frustrating overall. I don’t want to go back to hearing without it.

Since fully embracing my hearing aid, I find that I’m a little bit less eager to take a shower and go swimming. But I think I’ll get over that pretty soon.

Aha the shower problem. Many a time I’ve jumped in, started to wash my hair, gone arghhh and thrown my HAs out of the shower. Stll working so far…


My problem is as I’m sure many of you will agree or deffo have experienced is that you’ll tell them you’re deaf… but 5 mins later they all forget and mumble/turn their backs etc. Meaning despite telling them again and AGAIN they still forget. Christmas with my family and even birthdays are the worst because they’re supposed to be my FAMILY… Ergo supposed to firsthand KNOW my needs of communication… And it only seems to be my mum who actively tries… my brother and sisters and their children all seem to forget and chatter, talk, laugh and joke amongst themselves leaving me sat in a corner with nothing to say because I cannot understand what is being said!.. Here’s me not having a clue and they’re family! It hurts it really does… People you dont know fair enough, but not family that has known you all their lives (and my life). My mum is the only one and she tries to translate for me (as in relay whats going on the best she can, but even this cannot cover jokes, because she has to listen to them before relaying to me, meaning when she talks to me, she is also missing a bit of convo. I usually just sit on my own.
HOWEVER, I cannot put this blame just on hearing folk, because the SAME THING happens to me with all you DEAFIES TOO… I like a come to a few deaf meets to you know kindle with deafkind…and I STILL find that I need that I need that one person if I can find one to translate the general GIST of the bloody conversation! (I know one member on here that was kind enough to help me during one meet) Otherwise once again, I’m left sat in the corner with no idea whats going on!!

There’s no simple way to describe hearing loss, and I agree with others that percentages make no sense.

I tell people I have severe to profound hearing loss at higher frequencies, and explain this means although I can hear them talk, I lose clarity and cannot understand what is being said. If they’re really interested I break out the speech banana audiogram mentioned earlier in this thread.

To put this into context, I had a report recently for my employer to describe my hearing loss and recommended adjustments, the report was 18 pages long, so you can see how difficult it can be to explain your loss quickly and simply to people. Hearing loss just isn’t simple and is very individual.

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The Connexx Software used to program KS8/Signia/Rexton hearing aids has an interesting Hearing Loss Simulator built into it. It lets a person with normal hearing hear what you hear, after your specific audiogram is entered into the software. Not real helpful for the hearing impaired as it just doubles up on what you are not hearing already.

There as some more limited on line simulators available, but most do not allow entry of your specific loss. See this link for a list of them.

I tell anyone that isn’t accommodating my requirements for having a conversation (looking at me, speak clearly, loudly and slowly), or even anyone that protests at captions on TV, that I will take away their wheel chair ramps and walkers when they get old.