If my hearing’s not that bad, why do I have so much trouble?


Here’s my chart. Similar but not as bad as yours.
However mine was caused by 14 years of shooting in work. I’m mid 30s.

I’ve just got hearing aids for the same reason as you. And mine are covered for the rest of my life by workers compensation. They agreed I need them, and we all know how reluctant they are to spend money.

I’ve had them a few weeks now and despite having some issues finding the exact right ones for me they have helped a lot already. I rock climb, and I can now actually hear my climbing partner when I’m at the top of the wall in a busy climbing gym.

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Is that your belaying partner, or your competing partner that you left way below you? :wink:



Nice! This level of loss would not qualify where I live.



I think they agreed to cover me as my loss is so specific at the frequencies that really impact my ability to hear speech clearly. Also the fact it was so clearly caused by my job and I’m pretty young so it’s an issue for life and the earlier you get them the better.

But my main point is mine was bad enough for me to recognise I needed to get tested and some help. So yours should be too. I struggled with tv without subtitles, talking in restaurants etc.



There’s been some work suggesting that military noise exposure in particular results in damage to the auditory system which, while not obvious on the audiogram causes increased speech in noise difficulty. The study I am thinking of found that even young veterans with totally normal audiograms were struggling in background noise. It’s a nice example of the individual experience being more important than the numbers on the graph.



Well said. You explained a lot and i would only add,…it takes time to learn how to get the most out of hearing aids. His hearing has been bad for many years and he shouldn’t expect instant perfection.

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I really like the way you put that. And the entire post was one of the best I’ve read on this forum in quite some time.




Hi All, my first post on this forum, and rather than start a new thread, I have a similar audiogram and complaint as Russ above.
Ive noticed my hearing problem about 2 years ago, I suffer from sinusitus which kind of masked my hearing problem but I have a grip on it now.

Anyway, my audiologist and ENT doctor advised that hearing aids are of no benefit to me, I beg to differ (my audiogram in my profile).

I work in the death care industry & been able to hear is very important to me.

Can anyone advise if hearing aids can benefit me, or is the technology just not there yet?!




You’re in the grey area. Some people with your loss benefit enough that they feel hearing aids are worthwhile, many may not. If you feel that you are having difficulty and are motivated to do something, it is worth giving it a try. You can always return them if you don’t think they are helping.



Just curious on why this is so?



Hi Volusiano, I should have said “hear well”.

I manage ok in one to one meetings, but I struggle in family meetings, in places of worship and outdoors. Everyone tends to be very discreet & whisper. I can’t miss any instruction or miss any piece of vital information, communication is key.

Its frustrating to be told by a hearing professional that hearing aids would not benefit me. But I’m going to make inquiries about a hearing aid trial.

Thanks Neville for your advise.



I have a fairly mild audiogram on paper, especially in my left ear. I’ve had multiple ENTs advise me that they don’t think I’d get much benefit from hearing aids.

I’m fairly young (25 when I first noticed a problem, 27 now), so initially I went along with that assessment since I was in denial myself. I’m a medical student and I really started noticing a problem when I started rotations. I could get by most of the time, but there were times where I had issues. I couldn’t always hear softer spoken patients, I can’t always understand questions asked of me during rounds. The bigger issues were situations where you can’t always ask people to repeat themselves- I had a hell of a time hearing in the OR with everybody behind their masks and never looking directly at you, and I couldn’t always hear commands when a patient was coding and I needed to act quick. I explained all that to my doctor (partly because they’ve been through it all and could probably understand from that perspective), and they seemed to be more willing to consider the impact. The audiologist I worked with more recently is one who deals with a lot of healthcare professionals, so he was really able to understand where I was having difficulty.

From the MD perspective, I think part of it is just that we get next to no training on how degrees of hearing loss impact one’s ability in day to day life. An ENT probably should know more about that than me at my level, but ENTs are surgeons and their perspective and focus is always going to be a bit different even if they are the “ear experts.”

I got myself a pair of Oticon Opn 1s the other day, and what a difference. You don’t really realize how much you’ve been missing.



You are probably in an excellent position to educate your peers, and I hope that you do. MDs have ten thousand things to learn during school and it makes sense that the ear gets short shrift, but for many of my patients hospitals and doctor’s offices are some of the most important and yet more difficult places to hear. Doctors are (rightly) concerned with privacy and so will speak more quietly. Hospitals are noisy and probably the number one place where hearing aids get lost–so much so that some of our local hospitals recommend leaving your hearing aids at home. And yet, there are important decisions being made in hospitals and one wants to be able to hear in those situations.



The way I think about it is that a baritone doesn’t much like singing above middle C, which is about 250 Hz (rounding off for simplicity here). A decent alto will do an octave better, i.e. about 500 Hz. But, that Alto’s C above middle C, if I’m recalling correctly, is near the top of Pavarotti’s range. Then someone like Maria Callas would go one better than Pavarotti, i.e. ~1000 Hz. So, it would seem that vocal sounds are well within the ability of most of us to hear them. The problem is, all the consonants have high overtones that go well up into the 3000—6000 Hz range, and if you can’t hear up there, everyone sounds like they have a mouth full of mush. In the morning, before I put my HAs in, my spouse has the most awful mumble. I can “hear” her fine, but I have no idea what she’s saying because she mumbles so. But low and behold, once I put in the old HAs, her mumble goes away and we can converse more-or-less normally.



Well I never realized that I had as bad a hearing loss as I did until the Audi put my first hearing aids in my ears. Then wow I was hearing sounds great hat I never knew was there. I never knew that car turn signals made a clicking sound. And there was the sound of the refrigerator and even the sound of the heater and AC.



I completely understand this from a personal perspective. I am a Forensic Scientist, working and training other professionals. I was having great difficulty getting all the information that was being presented and so I had my hearing tested. I have a mild loss in the 4k area and would be considered marginal for the prescription of hearing aids. I sent my audiogram to an on-line supplier and the audiologist contacted me saying it may be of benefit but was hard to say. She sold me a pair of H/A with a month to try and if they were not effective I could return them at no cost. They were generic devices programmed to my prescription. I immediately felt huge benefit and after a few tweaks had them for about 5 years. I even bought a programmer to adjust them myself. Last month I purchased the Oticon Opn 1 devices and the quality of the sound was so wonderful, I got quite emotional when they were switched on. I have just seen my audiologist this week who changed the domes to the open type and now I feel no occlusion whatsoever and he also slightly upped the gain. The results are terrific and I really feel I am hearing normally now. The Oticon’s let me stream from my iPhone so I can take calls directly into my ears. I have just purchased the ConnectClip accessory because I want to be able to stream from my PC so that I can take Skype calls directly into my ears. They are coming tomorrow, so I can not comment on them but if they offer the same functionality as the connection to the iPhone then they will be great. The company goes big on music streaming, the reality is that a lot of base is lost (especially with open dome) and whilst it is good for podcasts, quality music is not great. If I wear my Bose noise cancelling headphone on top of my H/As then the quality of listening to music is just incredible.

The idea that there is a grey area of not bad enough for H/As is entirely down to the person who has the loss. My audio gram is marginal, the impact of wearing the aids is huge.

Finally, I was running a large lecture the other day and someone way in the back of the room quietly said “I don’t know where this is going” and I was able to respond to him with, “let me tell you exactly where this is going” he was utterly embarrassed and I was delighted!

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The Phone, TV Adapter, and ConnectClip all have a Power Bass setting in Genie 2 that can be set to High for more bass impression when you stream audio to the OPN from one of those 3 devices.

I don’t know how effective it would be with open domes, but with closed dome with a single vent like I’m wearing, I’m fairly happy with this setting for my streaming audio. While it’s still nothing compared to the bass that my Bose Quiet Comfort 45 can produce, at least it sounds acceptable to me because the tinny impression is gone.

It doesn’t hurt to ask your provider to make sure this is set to High if not already next time you see them. Maybe they have that setting for folks who wear open domes, who knows?



One other thing. Don’t hesitate to tell soft spoken mumblers that you have hearing difficulties and things will go much better if you can see their face and they speak so I can actually hear them. Works most every time. :slightly_smiling_face:



It’s probably a faux pas to revive an older thread, but this one jumped out at me.

I have experienced a number of occasions wherein patients had normal hearing but who swore they had a hearing loss. Sometimes we forget that so much of hearing does not occur in the ears, but in the brain. Other things happening in the brain can have an impact on the capacity to process what one is hearing.

One patient (who I made sure never met my wife since he looked like a very buff Ryan Reynolds) was a firefighter who swore that he had trouble hearing his daughters and even hearing the alarms at the fire station. Testing showed normal hearing. That being said, I really try to observe behaviors of patients in my booth. You never know when a patient may be claustrophobic, or having a sudden health issue, etc. Since the patient is in my care while in my office, I keep a close eye on them. In this case, I noticed the patient was really struggling to verbalize the words used in word recognition testing. Turns out the patient had recently returned from Afghanistan as a Marine and was suffering from severe PTSD. I actually got a “thank you” letter from a psychologist at the VA for forcing the issue and pleading with the patient to address his issues.

Another patient swore she couldn’t hear well. Testing showed normal hearing. The patient really wanted to try aids. I fitted some for her. She immediately started crying stating that she could finally hear. So guess if I was confused? I would not sell her hearing aids until she visited with a physician first to figure out why her perception did not match the test results. Turns out she was way strung out on opioids, which was obvious the second time a saw her. The opiods were affecting her brain’s ability to process information.

Other patients have simply had previously undiagnosed processing difficulties. Amplification can help “kick start” the brain in some of those cases.

In the case of the OP, an audiogram that isn’t “that bad” when paired with an individual’s ability to process can lead to wildly varying perceptions of hearing even among people with nearly identical audiograms.

So, I always advocate that the first thing we as audis/specialists and, indeed, physicians, too, MUST do is listen to the patient, and observe the patient’s mannerisms and actions. It is so super easy for us to just rely on computerized data on a screen, but the data doesn’t always tell us everything. I have to guard against this myself to insure that I have happy, hearing patients.