Some questions about my first test results, etc

I consider myself to be very slightly hard of hearing. I can usually hear what people say ok, but I’ve noticed that there are some high pitched sounds that others can hear but I can’t, and I’ve wondered how this affects hearing speech well. It was mainly out of curiosity that I got my hearing tested, and I’d like it if someone could clarify some points about the results.

Looking at the audiogram, it looks like both ears are very similar:
250 - L&R15db
500 - 20
1k - 20
2k - L20, R25
4k - 25
6k - 60
8k - 80
They said I’m borderline for needing a hearing aid, and that it would be up to me if I decided to go ahead with it. For speech I could get by with asking people to face me when they speak, etc.

Some questions:

  • They said that up to 4k, my hearing is normal. What does that mean? Normal for my age (nearly 50)?
  • I see my left is slightly better than my right at 2k. How significant is 5 db? Should I try turning my left ear to people to hear better? (I haven’t noticed any difference before.)
  • Above 4k, that looks pretty bad to me. They said it’s definitely not age related. How common is that kind of sharp drop off at 4kHz?
  • I have constant high pitched tinnitus. Could it be that the loss is really just because I can’t hear those frequencies over it? Same end result, I guess, but would it make a difference to how much a hearing aid could help?
  • They said I’d need at least an 8 channel hearing aid to fix the range that’s affected? Why? I can’t find anything about what frequencies any model’s channels cover.
  • If it’s because only 8 channel aids cover that range, why don’t they make 4 channel aids that only cover above, say, 4k? It looks like you pay more per channel, so why not?
  • They said they can “give me 6kHz, but not 8”. Why not? Would it make any difference?
  • Why does everyone talk about getting/having a hearing aid, when you generally need two?
  • Why are they so incredibly expensive? The pair they’re suggesting (Unitron Latitude 8, open, BTE) would cost AUD$5000 (similar in USD at the moment). I realise research and development costs money, but in the rest of the electronics world, costs drop and drop with time. Mobile phones cost 1/20 what they did 20 years ago, PCs cost 1/4 and are 100s of times more powerful.

I would say that hearing aids would help you in times when your hearing cannot distinguish certain sounds. Certain sounds are affected differently according to how the hearer hears them.

I compared your audiogram with my own and see that you have some loss extending into the lower frequencies which I do not have. Because I do not have those low losses, I was able to go with an open dome design which allows the lower sounds to pass through the cone while higher tones are amplified by the aids and I then hear them through the RITE (receiver in the ear, i.e., an extremely small speaker in my ear canals with the open domes holding them in the canals).

Even though my loss is not as great as yours, I still found an amazing difference starting the day I first put the aids in! It was like suddenly I could hear people again! There are certain times when they don’t help much, like in really noisy places to begin with. It wouldn’t hurt you to proceed to the next step and try a pair for a trial period to see if they are something you think would definately be to your advantage wearing every single day, most if not all of the day.

I had a 45 day trial period and I was so impressed, there was no way I was going to return mine. Fortunately, mine worked out well and apparently have some room for expansion should my hearing get any worse, by having my domes changed and even the receiver (speaker) changed as well.

  • You have a mild hearing loss up to 4K which is pretty common, if not normal.

  • 5 dB is very small difference. Mostly, we have a hard time detecting a 5 dB change in volume.

  • I can’t say what would cause such a sharp drop at 4 KHz. A big drop in the frequencies above 2 KHz appears to be common in occupational hear loss though.

  • Hearing aids may help with your tinnitus, then again, it might not.

  • Hearing aids typically provide amplification from 250 Hz to around 6 KHz. Your loses at 8 KHz may be out of a hearing aid’s ability to provide amplification.

  • A 4 channel instrument would probably cover you hearing loss OK too. That’s just my opinion.

  • Generally speaking, 2 cheap aids are better than 1 expensive aid IF you have a hearing loss in both ears. In your case, you might not need even 1.

  • Why are they so expensive? Beats me.

I agree with Renovator’s reply - these are my first pair, and the difference is astounding!

Mine were expensive because they are very sophisticated instruments capable of a great deal of sound-processing - I also have a remote and a Bluetooth streamer for the phone.

Try a pair for the trial period for yourself!