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Hearing
Old 10-26-2007, 03:16 PM   #1
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Hearing

My hearing is way too good. I can hear my electric shaver charging from across the room. I can hear geese coming before others can. I can hear better with my fingers in my ears than DW can without. I can hear dogs barking at night that are half a mile away. Whenever I've tested my hearing (years ago, admittedly) I was off the charts -- way better than normal.

But last night at a crowded coffee shop (very noisy with talking people), I could barely make out what my (softspoken) friends were saying. Other people seemed to be understanding fine.

I wonder how much of this is lack of practice (I'm not a noisy place person). Or perhaps I'm just less tolerant of not being able to hear every word.
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Old 10-26-2007, 03:34 PM   #2
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If you had your hearing tested, I'll bet you'd find you've lost the ability to hear some frequencies as well as you did when you weren't an old... younger. And the second thing to go is...
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Old 10-26-2007, 03:40 PM   #3
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When I went to bars years ago I always pretended that I understood what others were saying. It's unsexy to always ask the other person to repeat what they said, especially if you are trying to seem smart and attractive.

Another possibility is that you were picking up all the surround noises due to your good hearing. I think people with poor hearing learn how to read lips better. It may work well in a noisy coffee shop.
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Old 10-26-2007, 03:50 PM   #4
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That sounds like the age-related hearing loss that runs in my family. My grandfather would bark at us to speak up when he couldn't hear us due to background noise. Then everyone would be quiet while we repeated what we said in a louder voice. He'd then yell at us for yelling...

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Old 10-26-2007, 04:03 PM   #5
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I definitely have trouble with conversation in a noisy environment. Too many Marshalls on 11...
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Old 10-26-2007, 04:10 PM   #6
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T-Al, that is exactly my situation. DW and even the kids think I'm nuts sometimes*, going on about some noise around the house - then I find it and show them.

But I could never make out conversations in a noisy environment, even when I was young. I suspect it is more of an ear-brain decoding thing, than anything physical with the ears. Maybe it is a learned thing?

It also seems that if I hold a phone to my right ear instead of my left, I can hear the sounds just fine but it seems hard for me to understand the words, like I have to work twice as hard at it or something. Right-Left brain thing? I don't know.

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* well, OK, they think I'm nuts for all sorts of reasons, some of them are pretty valid
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Old 10-26-2007, 04:14 PM   #7
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I think REW's got it nailed: high frequency hearing loss (presbycusis) associated with .. uh... maturity. Yep, maturity. I definitely have the symptoms myself.

Crowded surroundings are bad. Sounds like F and S are examples of stuff you'll miss. Hearing aids are able to benefit most patients but most don't bother and many find it inconvenient. Aids often help the associated tinnitus, too. Unfortunately some who use hearing aids don't understand sounds any more accurately, they just get louder.

I am not aware of the loss other than in noisy environments. I have a set of custom ear plugs from my motorcycling days and I actually find they help me understand others in noisy environments (as well as protecting my ears when I'm mowing or blowing leaves, etc.).

If it gets bad I'll try hearing aids but that's hopefully a long way off.
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Old 10-26-2007, 04:41 PM   #8
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Really really true....very hard to hear in noisy situations. I responded on another thread and said I had a Resound hearing but I misspoke. I have a Phonak and it was programmed to allow background noise to be eliminated and allow only voices to come thru. It really does make a big difference in noisy rooms.
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Old 10-26-2007, 05:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
But last night at a crowded coffee shop (very noisy with talking people), I could barely make out what my (softspoken) friends were saying. Other people seemed to be understanding fine.
I have the same hearing acuteness and I've noticed a big dropoff in discriminating against background noise. Even in the last couple years I can't pick sounds out from the microwave or a loud TV or crowds. Neither can the rest of the group you're with-- they're faking it or they never had it in the first place.

However I could hear the water pump blow on our car the other day. There was just something different about the engine noise, and all those years of watchstanding have trained my ears to listen for it.

And I can still hear what my teenager is thinking... especially if she's not listening!
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Old 10-26-2007, 05:13 PM   #10
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Nords: That ability, reference your daughter, is not hearing it is a father thinking he knows best. But to be serious I have a high frequency hearing loss which is bad and getting worse. I cannot hear a lot of routine conversations unless I am looking the person in the face and then sometimes I have to have them repeat themselves. Phone conversation is getting to be a problem now -- I did get new phones (5.8mhz) that do not interfere with hearing aids, but even then I have to have conversation repeated before I understand it. Lawnmowers and large bullet shooting stuff in the military without ear protection did not help either. Guess it is just a sign of getting older where the use of "what" and "huh" becomes the usual personal response. Amplified earphones with the TV/MP3 Players does help a bit.
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Old 10-26-2007, 05:23 PM   #11
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Nords: That ability, reference your daughter, is not hearing it is a father thinking he knows best.
Except for the Y chromosone we're pretty much carbon copies of each other, and our thoughts tend to run in the same groove. (Drives my spouse nuts.) So it's not too hard to predict where her thinking is headed. Of course when I was that age I only had one, or at most two thoughts, and "thinking like a teenager" is oxymoronic.

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... and large bullet shooting stuff in the military without ear protection did not help either.
My nephew the Army Ranger has the same complaint at age 26. We nukes could afford to be pretty paranoid about it and I went through a lot of custom-fitted earplugs before I retired.

Haven't had a hearing test in over six years. It'd be interesting to see what's changed...
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Old 10-26-2007, 05:41 PM   #12
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My son has a hearing loss, it was acute when he was in school but seems to have largely resolved itself when his scull grew to adulthood. The shape of the ear canal changed.

He aquired the skill of lip reading as a kid. When working on ships he could wear ear protection yet understand what others were saying. Lip reading is a very handy skill for managers.
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:25 PM   #13
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I've discovered in the last couple of years that I have an across-the-board hearing loss (and I'm only 33, what's up with that!?) but background noise is especially problematic. Hearing aids have helped (even though they were a pain to get used to) but it's occurred to me that lip reading might be a good skill to acquire. For those who are good at it (or know someone who is), how do you learn this? Just by watching other people talk? It seems odd to be looking at someone's mouth and not their eyes when having a conversation.
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:39 PM   #14
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I lip read...or so I'm told. I watch people's mouths all the time. It probably bugs the heck out of people, but that's the way it goes. I need to be face to face with someone before I can understand what they are saying. Believe me, I had no training in this other than the school of hard knocks.
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:47 PM   #15
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I definitely do not hear as well as I used to hear. I find myself turning the TV up louder, but I will quickly turn it down when other people come in the house. I can remember people complaining when older relatives would turn the TV up so loud. My hearing loss is due to too many loud rock and roll concerts in my younger days and also from me playing music too loud.
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:48 PM   #16
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Well, good to know I'm not alone. Maybe I should start on lip reading now.
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:11 PM   #17
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Well, good to know I'm not alone. Maybe I should start on lip reading now.
Thanks for the link! TV is a good idea. And of course I should have guessed that someone would be selling instructional DVDs Actually, now that I think of it, maybe I'll see if the library has anything...
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Old 10-26-2007, 09:37 PM   #18
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I am starting to sense a little hearing loss as I grow older, too. I'd say don't worry about it, but get a hearing aid right away if it becomes annoying.
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Old 10-26-2007, 11:30 PM   #19
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My hearing is way too good. I can hear my electric shaver charging from across the room. I can hear geese coming before others can. I can hear better with my fingers in my ears than DW can without. I can hear dogs barking at night that are half a mile away. Whenever I've tested my hearing (years ago, admittedly) I was off the charts -- way better than normal.

But last night at a crowded coffee shop (very noisy with talking people), I could barely make out what my (softspoken) friends were saying. Other people seemed to be understanding fine.

I wonder how much of this is lack of practice (I'm not a noisy place person). Or perhaps I'm just less tolerant of not being able to hear every word.
I have exactly the same issue, and I have also been tested and have "off the chart hearing". The situation was explained to me something like this....When your hearing is so acute, you will obviously hear much more than an average person does, thus you hear a din of noise from both near and far sources. Those with normal hearing can barely hear the far off noise which allows them to focus much easier on the conversation. I'm surprised that you hadn't noticed the issue before. The other place that it commonly shows up is when trying to carry on a conversation in a hot tub with the jets on.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:43 PM   #20
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Football coaches on the sidelines also can give you lip reading lessons. You will learn some new lip read words that the newscasters don't use.
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