Suggested aid for left ear after SHL

New to the forum, and could not find anyone with a similar experience, so here is my question:

I experienced Sudden Hearing Loss about 3 years ago. Prior to that, I had pretty much equal “reverse slope” hearing loss profiles in both ears (yes, those are not typos in my signature!). But now my left ear drops off after about 3kHz. This creates a peak at that frequencey.

I want to get a single aid that will simply equalize my left ear to equal my right ear, and would like to restore my left ear high frequency response up to 8 or 10kHz, at least to equal my right. Also, I would like to be able to program the aid myself, as I am an electrical engineer with audio and computer experience.

Any suggestions from anyone? It seems that most aids drop off around 6kHz, so I would need one with better response than that, and also the ability to fine tune the equalization to avoid created a peak at 3kHz.

I am rather new to HAs, but here is my take:

  • manufacturers frown on user programming, so that is not easy to find as a feature
  • normal sounds in those upper ranges are rare, so most HAs don’t address it

Trying to ‘match’ one ear to another is not easy. I have SSHL only in my left ear. Trying to get that ear to hear normally, as my right ear does, not just not happening. I am happy to have binaural hearing back with the HA in, but same level of hearing? Nope, not even close.

I’m sure others with more experience will be along and post.

… or it could be that user programming doesn’t produce good results and can do damage – especially if the gain is too high. Think of user programming being similar to simply selling all drugs over the counter, without requiring a prescription. Sounds above 6 KHz aren’t rare, but speech (the main reason many of us have hearing aids) doesn’t go much above 8 KHz.

I don’t think you can “restore” your left ear’s high frequency response. Since you have a precipitous drop in threshold between 3K and 4K, that could be indicative of a cochlear dead region. There’s a special test called TEN that can be used to diagnose dead regions. High frequency amplification in dead regions may be of little or no benefit, and may actually decrease speech intelligibility according to some studies. Also, it’s difficult to get significant gain from hearing aids beyond 5K because of feedback and distortion issues.

Thanks for everyone’s inputs.

Rasmus, would I have a cochlear dead region if, when using headphones, the online audiometric test (myhearingtest.net), and an audio equalizer on my computer, I am able to boost the warble tones at 4kHz and 8kHz to sound the same volume, uncorrected, as my right ear?

I will be getting an updated hearing test soon, so I could ask the audiologist about that.

According to research, dead regions can’t be reliably detected using pure-tone tests because tones that are loud enough may be picked up by a different region in the cochlea. This is called off-frequency listening. But a dead region is more likely to be present when the threshold is 70 dB or greater.

Thanks for the additional input, Rasmus.

I have decided to try the America Hears Freedom SIE aid, have them program according to my audiogram, and then tweak the programming as needed. Need to get a current audiogram first. If this aid does not do what I want, I can always return it before my trial period ends. The comments on this forum for America Hears aids are generally positive for what I perceive my needs are, and I am impressed with their software which I downloaded to examine (you have to register and have one of their aids to actually use it, of course). I have never worn an aid, other than try out some cheap “personal hearing amplifiers”, so I really won’t have anything else to compare it to.

Thanks again to everyone for your advice. I’ll try to report back to this thread with an update after a few weeks.

Thought I would close this thread properly by saying that my most recent hearing test (Aug 13 2014) shows pretty much no change. Both my ENT and the audiologist convinced me that my significant mid and low frequency loss should really be corrected in both ears. Yes, going with one aid in the left ear could be made to work, but I would still have the low and mid loss which affects speech intelligibility. So, I’m going to abandon the idea of a single aid and instead go with a pair, with the left boosting some of the highs that have been lost.