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

@scottk

Katherine: I will definitely read your book! Does the book address tinnitus at all? On a scale of 1-10 I would say I am at an 8 with the ringing. There is a book out there that deals with tinnitus written by a Laurie Cole…it is quite helpful. Thanks.

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@scottk, Both my books have sections on tinnitus, but I don't offer any easy solutions, because there aren't any. Many people benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and training to reduce sensitivity to the sounds. Hearing aids can also help by replacing the tinnitus sounds with actual sounds. The majority of those with tinnitus have hearing loss, although they may not realize it. It's a frustrating condition though, and I sympathize.

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@contentandwell

@katherinebouton I did purchase the ebook but have not had much chance to read it yet.
I use the Connect Clip in some of my water aerobics classes! One of the leaders is young with a high voice, my most difficult frequencies, and she leads from the side of the pool, not in the water. I wear my HAs in the water, my ears never come close to submersion. I am disappointed with it in restaurants though, the background noise gets amplified too.

Thanks for writing a helpful book, there is a need for this.
JK

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@contentandwell, alias JK. I wouldn't dare wear my hearing aids in water! I don't like to even wear them near water. But the connect clip is great. (I like your screen name.)

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@contentandwell

@dollyh it’s not great in the din of a restaurant, but it’s great for me in water aerobics. There is background noise there, but it’s the blowers and that type of noise, and some music that’s not too loud. I think restaurants are one of the most difficult arenas for hearing, or any place where there are a lot of people talking, such as a party or even a family gathering. In the last it has been helpful though.
JK

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@dollyh, Unfortunately I have to agree with JK, it's not great in a noisy restaurant. I've used it fairly successfully with just one other person, but I'm mostly reading lips in that situation.

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Thanks for the reply.

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@katherinebouton

@contentandwell, alias JK. I wouldn't dare wear my hearing aids in water! I don't like to even wear them near water. But the connect clip is great. (I like your screen name.)

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@katherinebouton. I had phonaks and one of the features of them was that they could withstand a brief submersion. Then I got Oticcons and my audiolologist had a rep from Oticon in Saratoga NY come here two times to work with me because I was having so many problems with them. It turned out that they were defective so they sent me new ones. When she was here I asked her about the water and she said they too could withstand a brief submersion, and actually one has. I have power ear molds and I was tole they will not deal well with water but the submersion was brief enough that it was OK too.
My screen name is because I am post-liver transplant, and after going through that and what led up to it, I am now “content and well”. I had a remarkable recovery.
JK

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@contentandwell

@katherinebouton. I had phonaks and one of the features of them was that they could withstand a brief submersion. Then I got Oticcons and my audiolologist had a rep from Oticon in Saratoga NY come here two times to work with me because I was having so many problems with them. It turned out that they were defective so they sent me new ones. When she was here I asked her about the water and she said they too could withstand a brief submersion, and actually one has. I have power ear molds and I was tole they will not deal well with water but the submersion was brief enough that it was OK too.
My screen name is because I am post-liver transplant, and after going through that and what led up to it, I am now “content and well”. I had a remarkable recovery.
JK

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I'm glad there's such a happy story behind "content and well." As for taking a dip with my Oticon in — I'll avoid it if at all possible!

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I have similar problems however it's not Uniformly Consistent. Also have not spent time measuring circumstances however now I will.

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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.

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Thanks for outlining your procedure which sounds pretty thorough to me. Regarding Real Ear Measurement–how would that be expensive? That is a "best practice" and if an audiologist does not use it, I would find another clinic. There is such an excellent video on this that explains that is the ONLY way to match your Hearing prescription (audiogram) to the your own hearing aid…otherwise you are using a manufacturer's default!! Not good! The 10 Minute video is called: The Most Important HEARING AID Video You Will EVER Watch! What are Real Ear Measures? by Dr. Cliff Olson…google it!

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@contentandwell

@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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To compare hearing aids there is a "Consumer's Guide to Hearing Aids (2018)" which is distributed to hearing aid vendors. It compares the hearing aids with about 25 categories. It is available for sale through HLAA. I would give you the link but I can't, as this site rejects my URL's.

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@carolynodio

To compare hearing aids there is a "Consumer's Guide to Hearing Aids (2018)" which is distributed to hearing aid vendors. It compares the hearing aids with about 25 categories. It is available for sale through HLAA. I would give you the link but I can't, as this site rejects my URL's.

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@carolynodio – Thank you Carolyn!

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Another barrier to hearing is fans: ceiling fans, window fans, air conditioner fans — fans of all kinds. For some reason fans are the enemy of my hearing aids. In warm weather people seem to keep fans turned on out of habit. When the fans are turned off I can hear much better. I’d much prefer a stuffy room where I can hear to a ventilated room where I cannot. Of course I’m mostly in the minority.

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@contentandwell Is your difficulty with clarity primarily happening in crowded spaces (like coffee shops and restaurants) or everywhere (including quiet places like home)? If primarily in crowded spaces, then you might want to discuss the possibility of spatial hearing loss with your audiologist. There are tests that can be performed to diagnose it. JK McElveen

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@jkmcelveen

@contentandwell Is your difficulty with clarity primarily happening in crowded spaces (like coffee shops and restaurants) or everywhere (including quiet places like home)? If primarily in crowded spaces, then you might want to discuss the possibility of spatial hearing loss with your audiologist. There are tests that can be performed to diagnose it. JK McElveen

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@jkmcelveen When I had my hearing tested the level at which I could hear sounds had not changed much. My recognition of words had degraded quite a bit.
Crowded places are virtually impossible, even just a few people together in our home makes it impossible to hear, it's all garbled. With my current hearing aids, Oticon Opn1s, the clarity is improved. I can now hear what the sermon is in church if it is said loud enough and not mumbled. I could not that before I had these hearing aids.
I believe I have had all of the tests but I have an appointment coming up so I will mention that to her. Thanks for the suggestion.
JK

Liked by Dee

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@bobbiefriend

Another barrier to hearing is fans: ceiling fans, window fans, air conditioner fans — fans of all kinds. For some reason fans are the enemy of my hearing aids. In warm weather people seem to keep fans turned on out of habit. When the fans are turned off I can hear much better. I’d much prefer a stuffy room where I can hear to a ventilated room where I cannot. Of course I’m mostly in the minority.

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When I first got my hearing aids they picked up the sound of the fan in my car to a very annoying level. It took numerous trips back to where I had purchased them, but did get improvement. Unfortunately, with that improved, the clarity in hearing conversation and television dialog was diminished.

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@cherriann

When I first got my hearing aids they picked up the sound of the fan in my car to a very annoying level. It took numerous trips back to where I had purchased them, but did get improvement. Unfortunately, with that improved, the clarity in hearing conversation and television dialog was diminished.

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Thanks for all the good feedback! This has really helped me sort through my issues and not think that I was the only one dealt the problems. Just read Smart Hearing from Katherine Bouton and thought it was a very worthwhile resource. This week I am going back to my audiologist and she is going to let me try out the Phonak Roger Select to use in a meeting environment….will let you know how that works. I am retired but still stay active with a couple of organizations which means I attend meetings which are very hard for me. I also teach a technical class Monday nights but have just instructed the students about my hearing issue and I think they understand and try to help me. I don't want to go sit in a corner like I see some hard of hearing people! One thing I did accomplish was to have a hearing loop installed in our church over Christmas and this has been received very positively! But HA users need to know how to utilize it otherwise it won't be of any benefit to them…..enough for now but thanks for all the suggestions!

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