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Typical hearing loss

For most people, the only kind of hearing loss you've been exposed to is a conductive loss; one found when you catch a cold. Though louder sounds can help a conductive loss, hearing aids do little to correct a sensorineural loss, especially for a child, or someone still learning to adapt to a recent loss.

Hearing aids can make sounds louder, but do little to make them clearer. Hearing through a hearing aid has been described as tuning a radio slightly off a station, allowing static, and then making it louder. Just as with a hearing aid, as the radio plays louder, the static and noise become worse.

This page will demonstrate visually how hearing aids work for conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

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 is the way hearing aids work for sensorineural loss. Even though the aid amplifies the sound, it does not fill or correct the missing or distorted parts of the sound. How much of the word is missing can be affected by things such as 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.

Some information for filling in the parts of the words that are missing or distorted may be gained through speech-reading (lip-reading). Even under the best conditions only about 60 to 70 percent of speech can be understood on the lips. Mouth the words pan, ban, and man. Notice that the position of your lips is the same for all 3 words. Even some words you may not think look the same, do. Try mouthing the words 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. FM or Sound Field systems can be beneficial if background noise is adding to the problem.


sensorineuralhearinglossillistration.1228493641.txt.gz · Last modified: 2014/05/16 12:35 (external edit)
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