Typical hearing loss

This page attempts to visually demonstrate conductive and sensorineural hearing losses, and their relationship to hearing aids.

If you're like most people, the only hearing loss you've experienced is a conductive loss; one found when catching a cold.

Hearing Aids are good solutions for conductive losses, but they do little to correct a sensorineural loss, especially for a child, or anyone adapting to a recent decline in hearing.

Hearing aids increase the volume of sound, but can do little to improve clarity. Hearing through a hearing aid is best-described as tuning a radio slightly off-station, allowing static, and then increasing the volume. Just as with a hearing aid, as the radio plays louder, the static and noise worsen.

Take a look at this image (don't click on it, yet):
Hearing Loss Illustration #1

Try to read the word in the center. Next, click on the image to see it enlarged, then use your back arrow to return to this page.

Go ahead…we'll wait.

You should have been able to easily read the word in the center. This is how a hearing aid works for a conductive hearing loss: once sound is loud enough (bigger) it can be understood.

Now take a look at this image (don't click on it, yet):
Hearing Loss Illustration #2

Again, see if you can read the word in the center. Click on this image to see it enlarged, then use your back arrow to this page.

We'll wait…

Could you read the word? This second image is an illustration of a sensorineural loss. Even though the hearing aid amplifies sound, it cannot not fill or correct the missing or distorted parts. How much of the word is missing is be affected by the condition of the inner ear, auditory fatigue, listening experiences, prior exposure to the word, condition of the earmold, condition of the hearing aid, and general background noise.

Speech-reading (lip-reading) is a common technique used to fill-in information from missing or distorted words. Even under the best conditions the accuracy of speech-reading only approaches 70%; as you mouth the following words, note the position of your lips:

  1. pan
  2. ban
  3. man.

The position of you lips remains the same, for all three words. Even some words you may not think look the same, do; mouth “red” and “green”. Once again, the position of your lips is the same for both words.

Other clues for filling in missing parts can be body language, context, tone of voice, repetition, pictures, or any of a number of different strategies.

Sometimes, other technologies can also help, such as FM or Sound Field systems, if the goal is to minimize background noise…more details to follow on this particular topic…


sensorineuralhearinglossillistration.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/17 15:16 by gregg
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