Patient’s Experience with Hearing Loss

Patient: H.H,

Age: 78 y/o Male

South Florida

(posted with permission)

My Hearing Problem

The basis of my hearing problem probably goes back to my mid-teens and early 20’s. I did a lotof target shooting (4 years on a college small-bore rifle team) and sport shooting before hearing protection was recommended. Also, a year in Vietnam with a helicopter unit, though I did use aflight helmet and headset when flying.

In retrospect, I was probably losing some hearing long before it was noticeable. I was in my early 60’s when I needed to have the TV louder, asked people (especially my wife) to repeat something, and had trouble with hearing conversations if there was a lot of background noise. Frequently I would not be aware someone was talking to me, unless they or someone else got my attention. Louder was not necessarily better as voices sounded distorted. My hearing loss is severe at the higher frequencies of the human voice which is the primary range for the female voice.

I started using hearing aids in 2009 and they were a big help but did not and could not provide100% capability. I now using hearing aids that can be better allow for the frequency loss that I have and they are an improvement over an earlier generation of hearing aids. So, where am I today. My hearing, even with aids, is much less than 100%. I would guess maybe 60-70% at best. In a relatively quiet environment, I do not have a problem with conversations even in a dining venue as long as there is not too much background noise. If someone starts talking to me without getting my attention, I may not be aware of it. It helps if the person talking to me is facing me. I find I use lip reading when talking with someone.

People who are mumblers, fast talkers or have heavy accents are a problem. TV can be an issue depending on the sound quality of the program. Telephones are also a problem as the quality of sound reproduction leaves a lot to be desired. Because of my frequency loss voices can sound distorted to me. Increasing the volume does not help. Bottom line – the hearing aids are a big help but they are “aides” not a 100% solution.