Knowledge Base

What Does It Sound Like to Have Hearing Loss?

Written by Stephen Wheatley
1 May 2018

To many of us, hearing loss is such a completely abstract concept it’s very difficult to truly understand it, until it happens to you or someone close to you.

Sometimes, you may not even notice that your hearing has been damaged until it’s too late. The early stages of hearing loss are difficult to identify, particularly in our modern life, which is full of a cacophony of sounds.

We’ve put together a number of tracks so that you can experience what it’s like to have various types of hearing loss. This will enable you to experience the effects of hearing loss for yourself. And hopefully, it will also encourage you to take your hearing more seriously. If you know people with hearing loss, these files will enable you to get a glimpse of what the world sounds like to them.

If you think you may already have hearing loss, no matter how slight, it may well be worth visiting your GP and getting a referral to an audiologist so that your hearing can be tested and perhaps stop it from getting worse before it is too late.

Demonstrations of the different types of hearing loss

To demonstrate the variety of different types of hearing loss we have made a series of recordings using a selection of text from one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes’ book, which is legally out of copyright, and therefore appropriate for open samples. Using this audio you can spot the differences and understand for yourself what it might be like to have each of these hearing problems.

For the purposes of comparison, here is the recording as heard with normal hearing so that you can compare the difference for yourself:

Examples of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition that can result from a number of causes, the most common of which is noise induced hearing loss. Here are the examples of the reading as heard by Tinnitus sufferers:

Mild High Frequency Hearing Loss

Medium High Frequency Hearing Loss

Severe High Frequency Hearing Loss

Recruitment Hearing Loss

With this condition, the ears are deaf until the sound level exceeds a threshold after which the ears suddenly “turn on” producing a choppy sound that is very hard to understand.

Ways To Prevent Hearing Loss

As all of these files demonstrate, hearing loss of any kind is an unpleasant condition that can affect an individual’s quality of life.  Psychological problems including anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression and concentration difficulties are common in those with tinnitus, and the more severe the condition, the more disruptive the hearing loss is to an individual’s every day functioning.

Prolonged exposure to processed sound is one of the main causes of hearing loss and therefore managing an individual’s exposure to this is one of the key ways of preventing hearing loss. For wearers of headphones and earpieces, technology such as HDM® (Hearing Dose Management®) measures the sound level being delivered to the headphones and earpieces and controls it to ensure it doesn’t exceed safe levels.

Find out more about how the HDM®Pro could help prevent hearing loss.