Loss of hearing clarity: Solutions or strategies anyone?

Posted by JK, Volunteer Mentor @contentandwell, Sun, Feb 24 8:05pm

I have in the last couple of years lost hearing clarity. Apparently, somewhere between my auditory nerves and my brain, there is something like a disconnect. The decibels at which I hear has not changed. This clarity loss can be age-related, and I have read that it can also possibly be related to having had cirrhosis, or to taking immunosuppressants – that all seems pretty unclear though. I have been wearing hearing aids since around 2004.

Has anyone else had this type of problem and if so how do you compensate for it? I get emails from CHC — Center for Hearing and Communications which is NYC and Florida and a book was mentioned recently that can be purchased on Amazon, “Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills, and Resources for Living Better with Hearing Loss” by Katherine Bouton. I am thinking about purchasing it but wondered if any others have this problem too. I have Oticon Opn1 hearing aids and purchased the “Connect Clip” which helps in some situations.
Thanks for any responses.
JK

i have hearing loss at age 79 my is due to age and Disco damage i think. I purchased a Phonak M rechargeable for my left ear only.
can hear on my right ok. Hopefully soon as technology moving fast . I will get an implant.
Dan

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I don't know of any way to increase hearing clarity, which I believe is normally due to nerve damage and for aging, a "basilar dip". So I can't advise BUT may I suggest you start to notice clues around you and adjust your environment so you have better access to communication? First be aware of the light source: if it is directly behind the head of the person speak in to you, u will not see the conversation clues in their faces. Keep the light behind YOU. Second, learn how to use captions on TV. Every set has them ready to turn on in the menu and settings. Turn yours on and leave them on all the time. It takes some getting used to but once you do, you will find greater clarity especially if u wear hearing aids while watching.

See if these two tips can help. You do need to adjust to the loss and u do need to give yourself time for that. You've already noticed and claimed what's going on….good for you! There are some strategies that can make living with the loss, easier. But these two are basic. Give yourself time!

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When my HA's no longer gave me the clarity I needed, I moved on to Cochlear Implants. Best thing I ever did for myself. I got all of that clarity back and then some. Talk to your audiologist about this option.

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@tulip

When my HA's no longer gave me the clarity I needed, I moved on to Cochlear Implants. Best thing I ever did for myself. I got all of that clarity back and then some. Talk to your audiologist about this option.

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I am scheduling an appointment for evaluation. thank you for the info.
Ty
Dan

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@dannoci

i have hearing loss at age 79 my is due to age and Disco damage i think. I purchased a Phonak M rechargeable for my left ear only.
can hear on my right ok. Hopefully soon as technology moving fast . I will get an implant.
Dan

Jump to this post

@dannoci I presume you are referring to a cochlear implant. Why can you not get one now?

@reallyrosie I realize that I cannot change the clarity, I was just wondering how other people may compensate for it. I do always use closed captions. The hearing aids I have are supposed to be the best for clarity — Oticon Opn1 — something about the way they process sound. Good advice about having the light behind me. Of course that's not always possible but I will try to be conscious of that. I use the Oticon "Connect Clip" that is a little microphone that a person can wear and their voice goes directly into my hearing aid. That is very helpful. Restaurants can be so noisy though that all of the extraneous noise still makes it difficult to discern what someone is saying.

I've been wearing hearing aids since around 2004 and this loss of clarity has happened in the last couple of years. I've had my current aids for about a year and a half now. It's very frustrating. Thanks for the tips.

@tulip I will ask my audiologist about an implant, thanks.

I definitely plan to purchase the book I mentioned above. I hate it when I am in a room with multiple people talking and I feel bombarded with sound. I sometimes just end up dropping out.
JK

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@contentandwell

@dannoci I presume you are referring to a cochlear implant. Why can you not get one now?

@reallyrosie I realize that I cannot change the clarity, I was just wondering how other people may compensate for it. I do always use closed captions. The hearing aids I have are supposed to be the best for clarity — Oticon Opn1 — something about the way they process sound. Good advice about having the light behind me. Of course that's not always possible but I will try to be conscious of that. I use the Oticon "Connect Clip" that is a little microphone that a person can wear and their voice goes directly into my hearing aid. That is very helpful. Restaurants can be so noisy though that all of the extraneous noise still makes it difficult to discern what someone is saying.

I've been wearing hearing aids since around 2004 and this loss of clarity has happened in the last couple of years. I've had my current aids for about a year and a half now. It's very frustrating. Thanks for the tips.

@tulip I will ask my audiologist about an implant, thanks.

I definitely plan to purchase the book I mentioned above. I hate it when I am in a room with multiple people talking and I feel bombarded with sound. I sometimes just end up dropping out.
JK

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Download from play store translator and try using it in restaurant situation. The person speaking will have to be up close to your phone but sometimes this works well. The hearing nerve (8th) controls clarity of speech. U may have some damage from drugs. Or u may have lost more hi frequencies due to the basilar dip and they contribute to speech comprehension biiig time.

I don't know or care much about implants. I've been deaf since I'm 4 but I'm a cracker Jack lip-reader and function with or without my hearing aids. I have the most powerful oticon bte . I use them if I'm in a serious situation…mostly not. They don't do much for me….@jk@@

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@reallyrosie Thanks, Rosy. I went to the "app store" and put in "play store translator" but it only came up with was a foreign language translator. I know some people use their iPhone on "live" so things go directly to their hearing aids but I have not found that helps much, the background noises overpower the person speaking.
Which Oticon do you have? I thought the Opn was the most powerful, is it not? Hearing aids are so darned expensive, and then they come up with improvements but you can't just keep buying new ones, too costly. My hearing loss started in adulthood. My daughter has always had a hearing loss and she recently got ReSounds and says they are the best she has ever had. She has had Oticons and Phonaks in the past.
JK

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Dynamo sp10. CT pays for them. Translate: u have to set both on English. It does work with greater accuracy than any other app…I don't have An i phone…Android all the way

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Hi…I use an app on my Android cell called Live Transcribe…I have tried a few from the Play Store I just typie in Hearing Apps. I like this one because the speaker does not have to be close to the phone to pick up the voice. Like all these apps, they are not always accurate. I wear 2 BTS and find this very helpful in restaurants and the beauty parlor where I remove my aids. Regards and hope this is useful to you.

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Clarity solutions for me has been a problem of communicating effectively with the audiologist as to what I am not understanding. The hearing test allows them to set the decibels according to the frequencies their test tells them needs enhancement (increased decibels). HOWEVER it has been my experience that those tests do not always indicate what you are hearing in real life (as opposed to the tones in the hearing booth) Adjusting their settings according to what you tell them is educated guessing on their part. I have required multiple "fitting"(as in a dozen more or less) for them to adjust the decibels of different frequencies to a point where it works for me. Using hearing aids that have multiple programs helps a lot. I have them leave the original program. Add an adjusted program. Compare the 2 then return to let them know what I experience. Again add a 3rd program leaving the first 2 and again comparing. Repeat until all programs are used. Checking each program in different environments. Car. TV. Restaurants. One on one conversations. Meetings. Deciding which work best (finding some work better than others in different environments.) Then eliminate any that are not that good. If need be, replace those with any additional adjustments.

Recently, I found sites on line for student audiologists to practice on. They have tones at the different test frequencies used by audiologists.
Wearing my hearing aids, I set the computer volume at what seems to be a normal and comfortable level for the 2000 frequency (test middle value) then I compare either side (1000 and 3000) to the volume level of the 2000 and record whether it seems louder of softer of about the same. Then compare the 1000 to the 500 and record the same result louder or softer and then the 500 compare to the 250.

Then I go in the other direction comparing and recording the result 3000 to 4000 to 6000 to 8000.
Now the hard part. I have the audiologist create a program that balances the volumes according to adjusting up or down volumes based on the adjustment variation from what ever THEIR original 1500 setting is. I can then compare that program to others.
I find applying this to the original, while also being prepared to give a verbal account of what I am hearing to the audiologist, for them to create a modified original the way they usually do, (leaving the original as is) that gives me 3 programs to compare.

I find my method gives a pretty good balanced volume where one frequency of sound does not drown out other frequencies. Also any frequency that is not effectively being heard by MY ears will be increased which I find makes all the difference in the world for clarity. Many audiologists use a technology that they charge an arm and a leg for (usually built into the higher pricing of their hearing aids) called real-ear measurement, which tells them what sound is actually getting to your ear to see if it corresponds to your audiogram… different things can cause a variance. My method allows me, I believe, to be able to tell more precisely what I am ACTUALLY hearing… and be able to effectively communicate that to the audiologist. I find some reluctance from audiologists to do as I request, possible they think I am telling them how to do their job and might be offended BUT I tell them I am just attempting to give them all the information I can so they can give me the best possible hearing experience from my hearing aids.

I realize this is probably too much information but use it or not as you desire.
Hearing aid users note that you can have your audiologist do a new test on you and adjust your aids if your hearing has changed. (and then get adjustments to the new settings as needed) When you are looking for a new hearing aid, find out how many years you can get adjustments from them at what charge? Some are free for 3 years. Some may limit to 3 free adjustments then $25 or much more per adjustment.

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Wow. I am struggling with clarity and excited to read your post. I purchased NuEar hearing aids in December of 2017 and I meet with the hearing aid guy as often as I feel I need to which was every 2-3 weeks initially and then we would go for a month to 6 weeks in between adjustments. I have Meniere's so my loss fluctuates at times. The hearing aids provide the volume but clarity continues to be an issue for me. My job depends on being able to hear people and I get very frustrated some days. I like your idea of having different programs to try. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

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@joannsteinbach

Wow. I am struggling with clarity and excited to read your post. I purchased NuEar hearing aids in December of 2017 and I meet with the hearing aid guy as often as I feel I need to which was every 2-3 weeks initially and then we would go for a month to 6 weeks in between adjustments. I have Meniere's so my loss fluctuates at times. The hearing aids provide the volume but clarity continues to be an issue for me. My job depends on being able to hear people and I get very frustrated some days. I like your idea of having different programs to try. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

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@joannsteinbach Clarity is of course the most difficult problem to fix. The newer technology is supposed to improve on that and I did find that to be true when I got Oticon Opn1 two years ago. I still have some clarity problems but not as bad as with my previous HAs.
I have never heard of NuEar. Are those dispensed through a regular audiologist?
JK

Liked by TERESA LOGAN

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@stephenmcelroy

Clarity solutions for me has been a problem of communicating effectively with the audiologist as to what I am not understanding. The hearing test allows them to set the decibels according to the frequencies their test tells them needs enhancement (increased decibels). HOWEVER it has been my experience that those tests do not always indicate what you are hearing in real life (as opposed to the tones in the hearing booth) Adjusting their settings according to what you tell them is educated guessing on their part. I have required multiple "fitting"(as in a dozen more or less) for them to adjust the decibels of different frequencies to a point where it works for me. Using hearing aids that have multiple programs helps a lot. I have them leave the original program. Add an adjusted program. Compare the 2 then return to let them know what I experience. Again add a 3rd program leaving the first 2 and again comparing. Repeat until all programs are used. Checking each program in different environments. Car. TV. Restaurants. One on one conversations. Meetings. Deciding which work best (finding some work better than others in different environments.) Then eliminate any that are not that good. If need be, replace those with any additional adjustments.

Recently, I found sites on line for student audiologists to practice on. They have tones at the different test frequencies used by audiologists.
Wearing my hearing aids, I set the computer volume at what seems to be a normal and comfortable level for the 2000 frequency (test middle value) then I compare either side (1000 and 3000) to the volume level of the 2000 and record whether it seems louder of softer of about the same. Then compare the 1000 to the 500 and record the same result louder or softer and then the 500 compare to the 250.

Then I go in the other direction comparing and recording the result 3000 to 4000 to 6000 to 8000.
Now the hard part. I have the audiologist create a program that balances the volumes according to adjusting up or down volumes based on the adjustment variation from what ever THEIR original 1500 setting is. I can then compare that program to others.
I find applying this to the original, while also being prepared to give a verbal account of what I am hearing to the audiologist, for them to create a modified original the way they usually do, (leaving the original as is) that gives me 3 programs to compare.

I find my method gives a pretty good balanced volume where one frequency of sound does not drown out other frequencies. Also any frequency that is not effectively being heard by MY ears will be increased which I find makes all the difference in the world for clarity. Many audiologists use a technology that they charge an arm and a leg for (usually built into the higher pricing of their hearing aids) called real-ear measurement, which tells them what sound is actually getting to your ear to see if it corresponds to your audiogram… different things can cause a variance. My method allows me, I believe, to be able to tell more precisely what I am ACTUALLY hearing… and be able to effectively communicate that to the audiologist. I find some reluctance from audiologists to do as I request, possible they think I am telling them how to do their job and might be offended BUT I tell them I am just attempting to give them all the information I can so they can give me the best possible hearing experience from my hearing aids.

I realize this is probably too much information but use it or not as you desire.
Hearing aid users note that you can have your audiologist do a new test on you and adjust your aids if your hearing has changed. (and then get adjustments to the new settings as needed) When you are looking for a new hearing aid, find out how many years you can get adjustments from them at what charge? Some are free for 3 years. Some may limit to 3 free adjustments then $25 or much more per adjustment.

Jump to this post

@stephenmcelroy Thanks for all that info – I don't have the details down yet, and may not have the patience to apply as thoroughly as you have, but I'm all for making my expensive high-tech hearing aids work for my individual hearing. I've been wondering how to communicate to the audiologist where my problems are. And I've been meaning to look for an online test that would help me pinpoint what I'm missing.
It is surprising to me that the audiologists don't routinely test to see what is actually getting through. Also, I think that the normal testing is kind of a blunt instrument, and that I may have some odd random hair cells(or whatever) that just don't work.
That idea of using different programs is a good idea although I think my aids only have 2 extras. Your summary of the different hearing environments is handy too -maybe I should be more methodical in checking each environment. I can never tell in the audiologists office whether my HAs will work in other environments. You've given me lots to ponder and work on . . .thanks again!

REPLY
@asklar02492

@stephenmcelroy Thanks for all that info – I don't have the details down yet, and may not have the patience to apply as thoroughly as you have, but I'm all for making my expensive high-tech hearing aids work for my individual hearing. I've been wondering how to communicate to the audiologist where my problems are. And I've been meaning to look for an online test that would help me pinpoint what I'm missing.
It is surprising to me that the audiologists don't routinely test to see what is actually getting through. Also, I think that the normal testing is kind of a blunt instrument, and that I may have some odd random hair cells(or whatever) that just don't work.
That idea of using different programs is a good idea although I think my aids only have 2 extras. Your summary of the different hearing environments is handy too -maybe I should be more methodical in checking each environment. I can never tell in the audiologists office whether my HAs will work in other environments. You've given me lots to ponder and work on . . .thanks again!

Jump to this post

Testing in the audiologists office is very hard to line up with what I will be hearing when I step out of his office and into the sounds of the real world! Clarity is a continuous struggle for me despite purchasing hearing aids that have all the "bells and whistles". I have less hearing loss in my right ear, so in order to more easily distinguish sounds and voices with better clarity, I often wear only left ear hearing aid which for me, has helped a great deal. Audiologist tells me I need to use both as they work together to get the best hearing, but have never been able to achieve clearer hearing when wearing them both. So far hearing loss in right ear has stayed the same so I am able to get by with just one hearing aid, but I dread the day when hearing in right ear would worsen so I would need to wear hearing aid full-time and lose that natural sound and clarity.

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@cherriann Going from the quiet audiologist office to the real world really is difficult. I recall one time everything seemed great in the office but when I went out and into a store it was horrible, almost painful.
I too used to like wearing only one at times so I could get the natural sound but my hearing has gotten too bad to do that now.
JK

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