Simulating Hearing Loss for Family and Friends


I just joined this forum. My wife has noticed my hearing isn’t what it used to, but since my loss isn’t severe, she questions whether I really require HA’s. It is difficult to explain hearing loss to people with normal hearing. A friend showed me a very good free NIOSH developed hearing loss simulator program that can be downloaded at the website below. You can input your own audiogram readings into the software and then demonstrate to others what you actually hear when someone is speaking to you with various types of foreground and background noises. You can also simulate natural hearing degradation due to aging. It is written for a Windows System. It is very intuitive and easy to use. I hope this proves useful.



Stuff like this is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!



I was able to give my wife an approximate idea of what I was hearing by adjusting the balance and EQ on my phone. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave her some idea.



This is a great resource to help people that hear well understand what we are going through and hopefully have more patience when we don’t hear things correctly the first time.



I downloaded it and set it up for my hearing loss then added in what I believe is what my ringing in my ears sounds like. Then played it for my wife. Her commit was that the high pitch sound hurts her ears, and I said that is what I hear 24/7.



I tell my wife the crickets are noisy or quiet depending on how things are. She tries to understand. I also tell her it’s like Chinese water torture because it’s a continuous unrelenting sound that makes me crazy. Sometimes I can’t even focus on work. I have to say, though, that I have the tinnitus masker in my Phonak V90’s and it really seems to help. The only time I hear the crickets is when I take out the HA’s. With the HA’s it’s like a very mild seashell type sound which I don’t really even notice.



I do not have any masking in my aids but I do have a app on my phone that I can stream to my aids that really helps. And I found myself when I was working listening to classical music in the background that I streamed to my aids from my phone. I have come to hate being in a too quiet of a location, due to the ringing sounding so much louder.

About the best way I describe what I hear is that it is like a combo of white and pink noise. I have generated a sound track that almost completely masks it out for me. But then if I have a sinus cold or allergies that bother me the sound will change and I have not yet been able to generate that sound.



Many thanks for posting this. I’ve just demonstrated it to my wife, who was stunned at the amount of hearing loss I live with. She’s obviously aware that my hearing wasn’t up to scratch, but this demonstration amazed her - and she wants me to run the demo for our (grown) kids.

Incidentally - the software could do with a few small tweaks:

I can enter my audiogram manually - but as soon as I press the button for “Hearing Loss = None”, to get the comparison, it loses my manual settings.

It would be helpful to be able to alternate between the lost hearing and the normal hearing, without having to re-enter my audiogram every time.

And I wish it could emulate tinnitus at various pitches - so I could run that as well. Perhaps I’ll scratch around the Interweb for a tinnitus emulator, then record it to an MP3 and add it to the background noise emulators myself.

Still very helpful, though…



I realize this is an old thread, but can anyone speak to how accurate this simulator is?



I think it could give a general feel for what a hearing loss might be like, but since people with the exact same audiogram can have vastly different experiences, don’t exact it to exactly duplicate the experience.



Okay. That makes sense. Thanks!



I truly feel for those with constant ringing. Mine comes and goes in what I think is my right ear. Drives me nuts when happens and am afraid it may not stop. I’ve been blessed. Thank you for starting this post. Constant harashment at work due to my hearing loss effects my quality of life. I am a volunteer firefighter and I repair Fords for a living. My brother and sister firefighters can be no more understanding however fellow workers can be ruthless!



I, too, downloaded this simulator a couple years ago, and I found that you can actually click open more than one simulation at a time. So if you click on the simulator twice, to open two simulator tabs (or windows, or whatever you would call it) then you can just switch between the two different windows for comparison between normal hearing vs your hearing. :slight_smile: