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Hearing Loss Simulator: Understanding mild and moderate hearing loss.

hearing loss simulator

People with normal hearing – especially parents, spouses and friends of those with hearing loss – are often eager to better understand what hearing loss sounds like. While a blindfold worn around the house for an afternoon might help someone learn what it’s like to live without vision, hearing loss comes in varying degrees and forms. Simply blocking out all sound won’t provide the right information. To really understand the complex nature of hearing loss, you have to experience the loss of both volume as well as specific sounds.

Using computer simulation algorithms, we’ve put together a group of audio files that simulate what someone with sensorineural hearing loss is able to hear in specific contexts. The sound files are grouped by type, from conversations in different contexts – background noise; restaurant; traffic – to various kinds of music. For each sound clip, you can listen to what it sounds like with “normal” hearing, as well as mild and moderate hearing loss. Here’s the hearing loss simulator

Hearing Loss

Normal

graph - normal hearing

Mild

graph - mild hearing

Moderate

graph - moderate hearing

Speech

     
Single speaker
Dialog two speaker
Announcement in station
In a restaurant
       

Environmental

     
In the mountains
Birds singing
Frogs
Ducks
Industry
In traffic
       

Music

     
Piano
Clarinette
Classical: Beethoven
Children singing
Pop
       

Background Noise

     
Telephone

 

About  the Hearing Loss Simulator

Which sounds, and how much of each sound a person with hearing loss misses, depends on the degree of loss. For the person who still has some hearing and is listening to speech, the missing sounds are often the consonants P, K, F, H, T, and S, and the Sh sounds. Higher voices and higher-pitched sounds are harder to hear, as well, and it’s more difficult to hear anything when there’s background noise involved. So, unlike the blindfold experiment, wearing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones isn’t a good way for a hearing person to experience hearing loss.

If you have hearing loss, consider sharing this this page to your friends and family. It may finally show them why you need them to look at you the next time they’re asking “SO HOW ARE YOU?” at a busy restaurant.

 
Editorial Staff
I work at Phonak and write for HearingLikeMe.com.

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14 Comments on "Hearing Loss Simulator: Understanding mild and moderate hearing loss."

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Sherri Lynne
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Sherri Lynne
My tinnitus is ringing like a bell and sometimes so loud that I think others can hear it. I have mild hearing loss too. I also have PTSD and Type 2 diabetic for 11 years 5 months. I also. have seizures. I have osteoarthritis so most of the time my hands shake. I hate talking on the phone. I have a therapist and she just found out the 9th of this month that I have a hearing problem. I told her that I lipread and I know. sign language I taught myself both my daughter knows how to lipread and… Read more »
tmuggie
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tmuggie
Same here, I have tinnitus and low freq loss and this example does nothing to shed any light on that. My hearing loss is kinda like the way the teacher sounded in the “peanuts” tv shows. Alot of times it is not a “volume” issue as much as it is and “understanding” issue. Sometimes I think i may have some sort of brain damage. Public address systems are the worst. You could turn it up till my ears bled but I still wouldn’t understand what the hell they were saying!!
unicorn1116
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unicorn1116
I think that this is a great way to show family and friends what it’s like. However, some of us have a different type of hearing loss. I have meniere’s and have lost the low end tones and I also have vaccuum cleaner tone tinnitus in one ear and the high pitched tinnitus in the other ear. I would really like to get across to the family what it’s like to have tinnitus all day and then to have things sometimes be louder than they already are when the tinnitus is bad. that may be too much to do, but… Read more »
poland
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poland
Only issue is I have one ear reverse slope and other straight-line. I NEVER see anything like this for low and moderate sounds in mild HOH range and then suddenly up to zero for high notes. My guess is because so many old people go deaf later in life and they have the kind shown above. Many younger people have my kind, why not offer both? Sound is different!
ErikaB
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ErikaB
I was diagnosed with Menier’s in August of 2009. Within 5 days of fluctuating hearing and everyone sounding like the munchkins from OZ. My hearing in my left ear was gone. I was told it would never come back. Fortunately they were wrong and some On my way! Hearing in that ear returned, however, it fluctuates and high pitched voices and sounds hurts. Soft voices are really hard to hear. Then today I was having a conversation with my husband and suddenly noticed that up in an airaplane feeling in my head and I was having a lot of trouble… Read more »
philmein
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philmein
I have a reverse hearing slope so the high tones such as a phone ringing, birds chirping, smoke detectors going off has never been an issue. My biggest problem is the understanding of speech!!!! although I hear the sound of the voice I am not always taking in what is being said. So, as with many of the people with hearing loss I have to say “can you repeat that?” And the most problems I have with most people when they find out I have hearing aids it’s like, “you have hearing aids? then why can’t you hear me? I… Read more »
angelgirl61
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angelgirl61
i started losing my hearing slowly after i had mumps it was very very mild. Just in the past few months it has progressed to moderate. It is hard for me to hear certain words, certain sounds, excepting for the ringing in ears, so loud i think that the fire department could respond on it then lets not mention the head aches after that. Sometimes my hearing becomes so muffled afterwards that i am surprised that i can make out a cat meow. My husband is who HOH from 6 months old understands, he is so patient with me and… Read more »
angelgirl61
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angelgirl61
i started losing my hearing slowly after i had mumps it was very very mild. Just in the past few months it has progressed to moderate. It is hard for me to hear certain words, certain sounds, excepting for the ringing in ears, so loud i think that the fire department could respond on it then lets not mention the head aches after that. Sometimes my hearing becomes so muffled afterwards that i am surprised that i can make out a cat meow. My husband is who HOH from 6 months old understands, he is so patient with me and… Read more »
bluedol
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bluedol
THIS IS A GOOD START FOR SOMEONE WHO IS HEARING TO GET TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES BUT I AGREE WITH THIS OTHER PERSON THAT SAYS, OFFER MORE THAN JUST ONE TYPE. I AM PROFOUND NOW AND COULDNT EVEN HEAR THE MOIDERATE VERY WELL. IT SHOULD BE BROADENED.

MICHELLE

Sherri Lynne
Guest
Sherri Lynne
Ho do I learn to fit in with both worlds hearing and deaf? In my school years I was never like the other kids around. But, it was not because of my loss of hearing. I never learned to socialize I became a bookworm they did not care about how different I was the books were my escape from this word. one day I found a Joy of signing book I taught myself sign language and then the lipreading came but that was after my hearing started to change. I was in the 8th grade. I was socially withdrawn. In… Read more »
tzzitit
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tzzitit
It might help a little in my family to understand the magnitude of the problem with which I deal with every day, But it’s really not accurate for my specific problem. Apart from tinnitus, there are sounds that really hurt your ears because they are so discordant, and sounds I can not hear at all. Here there is only a demonstration of hearing loss equally general, in reality it is not like that, there is some shades of sound casualties in each is different, there is no explanation of the matter noises, apart from tinnitus, I have a serious problem… Read more »
philmein
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philmein
Erika B, I was just at the audiologist today and was talking to him about this very same thing. I really don’t know for sure if I have Menier’s or not. All I can do is hope and pray that I don’t. He told me there was nothing that could be done about it. He told me there were three symptoms that you would experience if you had it. 1) tinnitus, which I have in my left ear 24/7, a very high pitched tone. 2) things sounding flat and not right and then slowly working their way to the right… Read more »
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