What does hard of hearing sound like?

c-00994It’s easy enough to restore 20/20 eyesight with glasses or contacts. But even state-of-the-art digital hearing aids can’t perfectly restore hearing for people whose inner ears have been damaged by noise exposure, medications or just the wear and tear of aging.

Part of the problem is that this kind of sensorineural hearing loss — the result of permanent damage to the sensory cells of the inner ear — does more than just make sounds quieter. It can jumble the sounds, too, in ways that garble speech.

To give people with normal hearing an inkling of how wild these distortions can be, hearing and speech researcher Arthur Boothroyd created several audio clips for Shots. Many people, especially those with age-related hearing loss, lose the ability to detect high-frequency sounds. Because consonants are typically higher-pitched than vowels, the loss of high frequencies can make it difficult to tell consonant sounds apart. As a result, speech sounds muddy — in some cases, almost beyond comprehension.

The sound clip above is one where there is a loss of the weak sounds.

Hearing aids can fix some of these issues. For example, the problem of recruitment can be solved by using “amplitude compression,” in which the volume of louder sounds is decreased before being passed on to the ear. In the newer digital hearing aids, amplitude compression can even be tailored to specific frequencies.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.


Source: npr.org: Read More

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