what does hearing loss sound like?


Deafdude’s latest post had a neat link to a online keyboard at the Music School at Virginia Tech’s website.

It made me think of other sites that have demonstration of what hearing loss sounds like. I’ve tried a few of them and MLM is a willing listener to all of them but when I showed him the notes that I can hear on the keyboard he was startled, or maybe stunned

Click to head to the keyboard ( EDIT. link improved!) where you can use your mouse to replicate the notes from a keyboard. Deafdude is using the keyboard rather differently in his blog, I think it’s a great tool to show your nearest and dearest just how much/little you hear.

So as some of you are my nearest and dearest, these are my results.

We set the volume on the laptop so that it was comfortable for MLM. He could hear all of the notes, every single one. The volume only tapered off a tiny amount at the very top. Of course the low notes reverberated more, that’s what low notes do. High notes are more plinky than plonky.

Without my aids
I can hear up to A1. Nothing above that.

With my aids, set at the loudest volume I can tolerate, ie my usual working volume.
I can hear comfortably up to G1 392Hz
From D2 I can feel pressure on my ear drum as well as the sound which is distorted. It sounds like a wire twanging.
The sound is painful above D4, or 2000Hz, there are also some blank notes around here too.

These sites have hearing loss simulations.

Phonak shows, normal, mild, and moderate loss in various situations. My hearing loss was worse than the moderate one when I was eventually diagnosed and fitted with aids.

Hearing centre online has demonstrations up to severe loss

University of Wisconsin has a wide range of examples of various types of hearing loss. The profound hearing loss with residual low frequency loss is almost the same as my audiogram. I’m not sure what they mean by to simulate a low frequency hearing aid though.

Find one that matches your audiogram and then show people just what you hear. The good guys want to know, the others, well do you best to get them to listen

I just did the test again this morning – Saturday – and the results are different.
E2 is painful reverb
E3, 1318 Hz is the highest I can hear today, and that is very faint

Without aids today
Highest is B1

Obviously it’s a highly subjective demonstration/test but still valuable if you have someone with you to compare and demonstrate your hearing levels.


8 responses »

  1. Hi, thanks a lot for sharing these links. I've been looking for demos of (my own) profound deafness for some time. Posted them on my (German) blog last night, too.

  2. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Now I see what you mean. The groovy keyboard!

    I only have headphones plugged into this laptop, haven't hooked up the speakers to it yet and no nearest and dearest for a 'normal' control… so my results are likely not very relevant.

    But! I'm happy to reprot that I still know 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'

    Thanks for the links, Mog!

  3. I will have to check that out. My dad created a musical program on CD for me to play to test my own hearing. When we played it on the computer with my parents, my son, and my husband listening with me, it was really shocking for my mom to realize that she can hear more sounds than I can. This was after my hearing loss diagnosis, BTW. I would say I don't hear anything now and she would look at me as if I should just try harder! LOL
    Every once in a while someone will tell me they think they have a hearing loss and I will play the CD for them. Every time it has turned out that they can hear everything but I cannot.
    I really like the Phonak site for helping people "get" hearing loss.

  4. I was at work today showing someone the simulations. When we got to the keyboard one I couldn't hear a thing on the maximum volume for that PC. This shows that the keyboard is only suitable for demonstrating/comparing when you have someone with you. Different computers and environments change the acoustics too much.

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