View Full Version : Hearing loss

06-10-2008, 06:40 PM
I need a few words from an older adult [65+] on how age-related hearing loss has impacted on their day-to-day life... if anyone here has parents who have been affected I'd be so grateful if you could see if they might want to help out... thanks!

06-10-2008, 06:47 PM

Sorry, I just had to be the first jerk to make that joke.

06-10-2008, 06:58 PM
My husband is 52 and has substantial hearing loss, but wears hearing aids that help some. Is there anything I can offer?

06-10-2008, 07:08 PM
I've had borderline hearing loss for years. If you want to experience what I go through. wear earphones and play some really terrible music at high volume and then try to carry on a conversation with someone.

The difficulty you have picking out what they are saying from the annoying background sound is what we old folks live with all the time.

06-12-2008, 06:22 PM
As a trend, older women's voices tend to get a bit higher in pitch and men's hearing tends to lose the high frequencies. "He's not necessarily ignoring you grandma. Grandpa just can not hear you anymore."

06-12-2008, 07:30 PM
My dad always accused me of "sneaking" up on him even though I walked through the house normally, (we had wooden floors). He continued to insist I was tippy-toeing behind him just to mess with his head. He also turned the sound of the TV and radio full blast. He didn't realize it was full blast though. He never got a hearing aid though because I think he didn't like the look of them. I had to sometimes repeat myself, but I never got angry because of it or anything.

06-13-2008, 01:46 AM
I have a friend about the same age as me (I'm 28) who's had some hearing loss for most of his life. We were actually discussing it the other day and he explained why it's so annoying to have. You cannot hear people at clubs or concerts, folks get pissed off or snippy if you ask them to repeat themselves a few times, you never hear the mumbles on the television so you're always adjusting the volume, etc. The hearing aids he uses are okay, but replacing their battery and cleaning them are a bitch. And a couple times when I've called him I've noticed he has the volume on his IMs and such jacked up really loud on the computer, I'm sure a roommate or loved one sharing the same space would be annoyed by that.

If that helps in anyway, I'm glad. If it's rubbish cuz he's a young fella, I'm sorry. But in conclusion, I'd like to point out that he's said (while in an agitated state) that it would be better to not hear at all or hear perfectly. The in-between state is hell, not purgatory. >.<


06-13-2008, 01:47 AM
... and considering Stressed's avatar is Mulder, how cool would it be to see him posting with Plot Device, who has a Scully avatar. *wishful thinking* ^_^


06-15-2008, 04:48 AM
Women lose high pitches, men lose lower ones. Certain soft sounds are missed like the c in icecream, often the first syllable is missed since the person with hearing loss can't cue up as it were to listen as quickly as they used to. Associated problems like tinnitus complicate things by having hissing and snap crackle pop going on inside your head. Chronic sinus infections can also block hearing, as can excessive amounts of wax.

06-16-2008, 05:16 PM
Would you be willing to take info from a young woman, me? I'm only 60. And thank you soooooooooo much - I doubt I'll get to use that line much.

Hearing loss has caused me to speak too softly (albeit that also has to do with thinking the listener doesn't want to hear me). And to withdraw. I feel left out when others are talking and at times too embarrassed to put the sound up high enough when I'm watching TV with others. It's quite frustrating because I learn less, at least audibly.

And I've learned to PRETEND that I'm hearing - which truly gets me no where.


06-16-2008, 11:37 PM
My grandfather had hearing loss. He learned to compensate, more or less, but there were still some things he couldn't enjoy anymore, like going to movies. He rigged his television with extra speakers and such to compensate, but he still didn't enjoy a lot of movies and such. He watched the news religiously; I think that might have been easier than movies because news anchors face the camera and enunciate clearly. I think he had the most trouble with very high pitched and very low pitched sounds. He always had a bit of trouble hearing my sister's voice, for instance.

He didn't have as much trouble with me, because I speak at the low end of the female vocal range. I still learned that I should always face him when I talk, speak clearly, and move my lips clearly (he relied on lip-reading a lot, I think). Interestingly, when I visited my husband's family, I struck up a conversation with one of his great aunts—rather to the astonishment of the people around me, who tended to have a bit more trouble communicating with her. So I guess he taught me a bit more than I realized at the time. I'm still not sure exactly what I was doing differently, though . . .

Hearing aids—yeah, my grandfather experimented a lot with hearing aids. I think the ones he liked best were digital hearing aids that had some directional capabilities, so that sounds in front of you came in better or some such. I don't remember the technical details; I remember the feedback squeals, and watching him take them out and fiddle with them until they stopped whistling.


06-17-2008, 12:06 AM
I suspected hearing loss somewhere around age 40 when I noticed how much lip reading I did. I have a hearing aid I seldom wear. It amplifies the sound of wind, gets moist and causes infections. I prefer to go without because things are annoyingly loud compared to what I'm used to.

Someone who doesn't catch on might wonder what's stuck in their teeth, or be embarrassed if their dental work isn't real great.

A lot of people think shouting makes a difference, but it's articulation that's important. Some sentences, with too many s, t, p sounds take me a long time to decode.

Friends think it's funny to pretend to speak, while not actually making any sound. That kind of joking helps me feel comfortable around them. People who know better easily forget and may face away from me while speaking. They can become annoyed at my needing special treatment.

I hate missing the punch line of jokes, and people hate repeating them.

I love quiet, and oddly enough wear earplugs a lot. A sudden high pitched sound is alarming, because I don't hear much in the high range. It's like going outside from a dark room and having to squint. It doesn't physically hurt, but can make my heart pound.

Lyrics are a loss, but I always preferred instrumentals anyway.

I fear I may be talking too loud sometimes, or repeat myself, or over-articulate, as if everyone has my problem.

Because of the lip reading, I think I see less of the total facial expression, and don't catch the nuances as I would otherwise.

06-17-2008, 02:37 AM
I don't have hearing loss but I live in a retirement community where many of us do. The issue goes far beyond just not hearing what someone said: it has serious social and morale consequences that can degrade one's overall functioning and mental status.

Hearing aids are sometimes better than nothing, but only very slightly better: they pick up so much noise some people won't wear them because they can actually make things worse. To a considerable extent, there is presently not much effective help in coping with serious deafness.

The "hearing-able" often tend to interact less with the "hearing-impaired" because it's so difficult to communicate; and the "hearing-impaired" can retreat into increased isolation where their communication skills, thoughts, interests in the world, etc. can atrophy.

For those who haven't experienced the isolation of deafness, let me pass along this observation from life in my 400-resident retirement community. We have several mostly-blind people and dozens of mostly-deaf people here. Almost without exception, the mostly-blind are better integrated and more fully functioning community members (i.e. can interact better and have more to share) than the mostly-deaf. This is counter to what I'd have expected before moving here, and probably counter to what most young people -- given a choice between losing their sight or losing their hearing -- would expect.

06-17-2008, 02:51 AM
I hate missing the punch line of jokes, and people hate repeating them.

I love quiet, and oddly enough wear earplugs a lot. A sudden high pitched sound is alarming, because I don't hear much in the high range. It's like going outside from a dark room and having to squint. It doesn't physically hurt, but can make my heart pound.

Lyrics are a loss, but I always preferred instrumentals anyway.

I fear I may be talking too loud sometimes, or repeat myself, or over-articulate, as if everyone has my problem.

Because of the lip reading, I think I see less of the total facial expression, and don't catch the nuances as I would otherwise.

Lacewing - Ditto all around. (I'm 46.) I wear a hearing aid in one ear (sometimes). I can't use it on the tennis court because the ball sounds funny. I have trouble at parties where ambient noise kills conversations just inches away!

Here's another take: If I lie on my good ear, I can't hear ANYTHING at night which works well when hubby starts snoring (LOL)! It's true.

But as annoying as it might be, it's the only hearing I know. I don't know what I'm missing so in a way ignorance is bliss.

Stressed - I'd be happy to answer other questions. I just can't help you out with the 65 years young part.

06-17-2008, 04:02 AM
I guess I'm one of the hard of hearing oldies (85) and have been wearing hearing aids for about 10 years, bless 'em.

They're not perfect but sure beat the alternative. As previously mentioned it's still hard to hear when people are not facing you (movies). My aids have two mics(mikes?) and if I'm in a noisy place I turn off the surround sound one so I only hear what is in front of me.

I was told I spoke too softly when I first got them as my voice sounded terribly loud in my ears. I like to eat dinner while watching the news but the noise of my chewing blots out the TV. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif

Some of my elderly friends do not wear theirs all the time and there is a mad scramble to find them if the phone rings or someone knocks on the door. Battery cost is a concern, about $75 a year but I'll gladly pay it.

Hope this info helps.

Ruth Z

06-17-2008, 06:24 AM
I lived for several years with a roommate who was extremely hard of hearing from birth. We all had to make sure that she could see our lips when we talked to her - no yelling from another room. It got to be such a habit to make sure we walked into the room and faced her to talk to her that we did it with everyone in the house, even when two of us who heard perfectly well were talking to each other - and even when I was at my then-boyfriend's house and she wasn't even around.

It was actually a rather civilized way to live, I'm kind of sorry the habit has worn off.

06-17-2008, 04:39 PM
Stressed - A few more thoughts . . .

If your character wears a hearing aid, he'll need to be (or have been) fitted for one. These are not something you can buy off the shelf. A piece of wax is stuck inside the ear canal, molded to the shape of your canal. All ear canals are different. Some can be straight and some might curve. In my case, both my ears are different shapes.

Feedback is a problem. If I put my hand over my hearing aid ear, I hear a high-pitched screaming sound. I'm not able to hear the phone with that ear, hearing aid or not, so I can't answer what effect that might have.

There's an acclimation process to help the wearer get used to the hearing aid - a few hours a day, increasing until your comfortable with it.

This part's kind of gross - because the hearing aid is a foreign object, your ear will want to reject it. It tries to "push out" the hearing aid the same way it ejects dirt and other foreign bodies by secreting excessive wax.

On another note, I also have tinitus, meaning I have a constant buzz in my left ear. This could drive me crazy, but I've been listening to it for so long I don't hear it any more unless I stop and pay attention.

Good luck!

06-20-2008, 08:15 AM
My 40-year-old husband has had partial hearing loss in one ear since childhood. It seems to be growing worse. He visited the Shea Clinic here in Memphis and they told him there were no surgeries yet to repair his type of hearing loss and suggested a wrap-around hearing aid that would take the sound from his "good ear" and send it to his "bad ear." He decided he was too young for such an obvious hearing aid. They told him to check back in a couple of years, both to make sure it's not worsening and because there have been so many advancements in surgeries in recent years, so maybe they can do something for him in the near future.

Anyway, he "copes" with it by always sitting on one side of someone, so he or she will be talking into his "good ear." He has a lot of trouble following conversations, because he doesn't want to say "huh" every other sentence and ends up missing quite a lot. His pride makes things even worse than they need to be.

And my grandfather had pretty bad hearing loss, but hearing aids weren't nearly as good back then and I don’t think they helped him at all. He was very loud, I mean VERY loud, even when he tried to whisper. He was really a character and everybody loved him, but whenever people reminisce about him they mention how loud he was. Everyone in my family got to the point where they thought they could talk about him right in front of his face. But I know that sometimes he could hear and understand every word. When he got older and sicker and couldn't move around as well, he watched TV constantly, but the volume was so loud that it really disturbed everyone else. We had to get him headphones and plug them into the TV so he could hear but the rest of us wouldn't go deaf. Then the family started REALLY talking about him right in front of his face.

Also, it seemed that as his hearing worsened, his other senses improved, much like I've always heard about people who lose their sight. He could smell the pot on my clothes from across the room, and he could always taste the arsenic my grandmother tried to sneak in his chili.

OK, so I got carried away. I've had a couple of glasses of wine and couldn't help myself. But apart from the pot and the arsenic, it’s all true, I swear.

06-20-2008, 09:07 AM
My mom has a lot of hearing loss. Because of it, she doesn't go to events with my husband's family because everyone talks loudly and she can't hear anything but cacaphoney. She also can't hear on the phone when people call, but she will pretend that she can and I often have to call the people back and find out what they said.

Hugh Mann
06-24-2008, 12:39 AM
I'm 83 and my hearing problems started about three years ago. I will soon get hearing aids, one for each ear, since my hearing loss is about equal in both. The audiologists will tell you that they hear people all the time say "I hear you, but I don't understand you." What that means is that the hearing response drops off above around 1000 Hz (Hertz = cycles/sec). All of the vowel sounds are at the low end and they are the main source of volume. (Middle "C" on the piano is 256 Hz.) The consonant sounds are in the higher-frequency part of the spectrum. They are the ones that are important for understanding. I hear the consonants when people speak loudly, when I turn up the volume on the TV, or when I cup my ears, and then I understand. Story: I couldn't understand the name of the classmate of my three-year-old granddaughter. "Mac?" I asked. Nicole shouted, "Max, M-A-X, Max!" The new digital hearing aids are capable of adjusting many separate frequency bands and can filter certain types of noise, so they should not have the problems cited by your other respondents. I will soon find out.