How do you describe your hearing loss?
I have been having a confusion lately about why some audiologists describe my hearing loss as moderate, sometimes even as "moderate to severe" when I've had a particualrly dodgy test (I have a fluctuating loss) and then along comes another audiologist describing it as a "very mild" loss.
Well now I have the whole audiogram I think I have the full picture. It seems some schools of thought reckon you define the overall loss by "the quietest sound that can be heard with the best ear" thus by that descriptor I have a very mild hearing loss. Is it at all useful for people to define a loss by the quietest sound you can hear in your best ear? I can hear dripping taps, slamming doors and tweeting birds, just don't ask me to comment on human speech! I'm going to be in bother if I am ever reliant on this audiologist to provide a statement for funding purposes.
Other schools of thought say to take the average of the middle 3 figures which are representative of the majority of human speech sounds. Still other texts give less prominence to speech and say to take various other types of averages.
If you are being asked to give an overall description of your level of hearing loss (and assuming you don't have a straightforward "straight line" loss) by which method do you define your level of loss?
It looks like your audiogram is a cookie-bite loss. Mine is a reverse cookie-bite loss. Audi's usually put in the file that I have a mild to moderately severe hearing loss. I have tried hearing aids and have spent over 25000 in the past 10 years purchasing aids and assistive devices. Unfortunately I can't quantify any help whatesoever from the aids in understanding speech. I'd gladly give up hearing all the enviro sounds if I could just hear and understand what is being said. I have numerous friends that have bi-cochlear implants and when I am with them it's almost like they have normal hearing. They understand the loud speakers at drive through restaurants. They carry on phone conversations with ease. They say they enjoy music too. I would also gladly give up my mild to moderately severe hearing to be able to hear like they do. Unfortunately I don't "qualify" for implants because of those mild readings and my doc says I probably never will. So, it seems like there are options for everyone except me. With every new technology in hearing aids, I am excited to think that maybe this one will work. It hasn't yet.
Good luck to you.
Last edited by CryMeARiver; 02-09-2010 at 11:40 AM.
Reason: wrong description of hearing loss
I am sad for you, but unsurprised, that you have had such bother with hearing aids. The medical aids market is sadly not isolated from the market forces that make them concentrate their new developments on the largest markets, and those are people with severe losses all over and those with 'ski-slope' losses. I've heard of a cookie-bite loss but never looked it up, which I shall now do. My audiogram looks just like the way geese fly in the sky.
I've always beaten myself up a bit for being "only a wee bit" deaf and then not being able to understand anything, why could I not talk on the phone when I knew people with implants and with profound losses who managed? How come if I could hear "that well" then I couldn't work out what anyone was saying? I thought I was maximum -35, so the -60 is a bit of a shocker! Specially as I wasn't that deaf on that day, I thought the test went really well! I'm just pleased to be able to hear some stuff with a radio aid, but there is no consideration given to radio aids for the adult market here, it's a totally paediatric thing.
By design or by accident of electronics the majority of noise that a hearing aid itself makes is in the high frequencies, so of course to give me enough oomph in the mid-range the thing is busy going "weeeee" in my ear all day long in the frequencies I can hear! I am not surprised I never got on with analogue aids, I have near-normal hearing and high neurological sensitivity to high sounds, so add on all those dB of gain to get the mid-range in focus and the sound of someone slamming a desk at school would feel like I'd been shot in the head.
I wonder if they are able to design and bring to market a reverse version of the "Sound Recover" in the Naida aid that, if I understood this right, takes high frequency sounds that are off the range of a person's useful hearing and sort of squashes them down into a frequency they can hear them, so things sound unusual but audible. I wouldn't mind if everyone sounded like Mini Mouse or the Chipmunks so long as I know what they are saying!
Actually, I was browsing around hearing aid museums looking for a type of hearing aid that I seem to be the only person on the planet to remember having (a partial BTE, everything was BTE but the battery, which you had to hang around your neck in a tube) and came across this:
Which sems to be in clinical trials in the USA at the present time. The fitting range is suitable on paper and doctor costs are paid but the device cost is massive, and unlikely to be touched by your insurance because it's experimental. I suppose it gives some hope for the future, assuming they can find enough people with a spare $12,500 to spend on an experimental device. One write-up seems to be heralding it as a development in better actual hearing, the others seem to be concentrating on it being just like a hearing aid but you can swim in it, so not sure what the reality is on whether it provides anything over and above what can be achieved with a standard external hearing aid.
Last edited by RoseRodent; 02-10-2010 at 05:13 AM.
Reason: Extra info
This one already has FDA approval and reckons that most people get it covered by insurance. Not sure if that is because most people who bother to ask have really good insurance or they'd just presume it doesn't cover, but that's another thing! http://www.vibrantmedel.us/archive/layout/splash.asp
The European site seems to give more information about what it actually is and what it does, maybe we have more relaxed rules about what can be said about a hearing instrument without a consultation.
Originally Posted by RoseRodent
You have a moderate cookie-bite loss. ANY half decent aid ought to be able to reproduce sound in this area. As you say, you don't need any gain at 4kHz and above. This is something that should have been addressed during the fitting, as they are all meant to be verified using REMs under the MHAS project within the NHS.
The technology exists to do exactly what is needed, its just the application is flawed where you are.
Hmmm, this seems to have come to a dead stop on account of someone having provided "the answer". The question is not so much of "I don't know what sort of loss I have" because I do now, it's more to experience the variety of ways in which people tend to describe the losses. I wanted to know if it's commonplace or not for people to use the averaging model, or the "best hearing of best frequency in best ear" model or not?
And particularly, how people describe their hearing losses in non-audiological contexts. Almost everyone who has any ability to understand what is meant by a "cookie-bite" hearing loss probably doesn't need me to tell them about my loss, they are more than likely looking at my clinical notes! It was more about how people descibe their losses in situations where they have to overview their hearing to people who are not trained and experienced in the field, what do you normally say?
And a very interesting return to "should be able to..." - I "should be able to hear" all sorts of things I can't, and I "should be able to" get a good hearing aid fit, it just doesn't actually work out that way! I don't have a processing disorder unless it is one that can be cured with good amplification as I can hear absolutely fine with a radio aid, but not a (useful content) darned thing without.
Interestingly I came upon a hearing aid benefit scale, and post-fitting one whole category is 100% worse than both unaided and previous hearing instrument on every score, so I shall fill that in and take it back to my clinic. The only problem is they just tell me off again for "wanting the wrong hearing aid" and if only I would have the one with no DAI, voume control, program switch or Tcoil then I would be fine(!), even though the REM showed this hearing aid was a much better match for me. (And this one is still bad!)