What does this say?
_ l l _ _ _ _e e _ _ _ l_ _ _
Didn’t get it?
Try this then, it has a few more letters.
_l l _ _ _ n e e d _ _ l_ _ _
Not guessed yet??
…..All you need is love….
Thats my clumsy attempt to illustrate how sensory nerve hearing loss affects how speech is heard. The high frequencies go first usually. When they go they take some letter sounds with them. More letters/sounds disappear as hearing loss worsens. To make sense of what you are hearing you guess. You use visual clues to supplement the noises you have heard and make an educated guess at what has been said. Sometimes you work out it out after you have asked someone to repeat themselves. “She can hear when she want’s to” comes to mind, selective hearing.
This article on consonant confusion has a rather lovely diagram and explanation of how it becomes increasingly harder to differentiate the sounds of consonants in speech as you become more hard of hearing.
The speech banana is a device used to illustrate where the different sounds appear on the audiogram. I’ve superimposed my audiogram in red onto this diagram of the speech banana.
The sounds that are shown above the red line are the sounds that I can’t hear without my hearing aids. With my aids I can hear more sounds of course, the red line would move up, but the sounds that I do hear through them are distorted. Recruitment is a problem for me, as is a mild tinnitus.
The pain threshold for sound of around 120 – 140dB, my hearing loss is around this level at 2000Hz. This threshold doesn’t change so a sound amplified 120dB would be painful. This means that as well as hearing distorted sound, when I turn the volume up on my aids to hear “better”, then I hear painful sound.
After a while listening becomes too much. I used to love chatting and socialising, parties, meals out with friends, friends for dinner. Now I can only cope with maybe two friends, and then that depends on their help and understanding. Mostly I rely on MLM to let me know what’s happening.
Even so it’s tiring, and draining, and demoralising.
I hope this brings you a little closer to understanding my world.