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Hearing test
Old 11-14-2019, 12:03 AM   #1
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Hearing test

I went for a free hearing test at Costco today. (I'm in Canada.) A friend of mine (he's in his late 30s) noticed that I was having difficulty understanding what people were saying in a crowded restaurant, and he jokingly said to me, "Maybe you should consider a hearing aid. Being hard of hearing is nothing to be ashamed of. Those hearing aids are so small now, nobody would know even if you were wearing one", or words to that effect. His joking comment kind of annoyed me, but I decided to get a hearing test anyway.

Well, according to the test, I can evidently hear fine. Normal hearing in all frequencies they tested. In fact, most of the points in the graph were in the upper half of the normal range. There was a section on the test where I had to listen to a woman talk while a bunch of other people were talking at the same time, and then repeat what she said. With that one, I had a little more difficulty, but still within the normal range (almost falling off the normal range type of normal.)

Looking back, I always had a hard time in crowded places with a lot of noise compared to my school mates when I was growing up. I wonder if it has something to do with the way my brain processes mixed sounds? No idea. Someone said introverts don't do well with too much noise going on at once, but that's just someone's guess.

I just wanted to write about it since this was my very first hearing test and I wanted to see how y'all are doing with your hearing.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:26 AM   #2
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Last week I heard an NPR interview on hearing.
The fellow explained about how it becomes harder to hear in a crowded restaurant, it might not be a hearing problem, but a brain problem that affects older people.

Turns out that young folks can tune out sounds easily so they only hear the person talking to them, but as we age we just hear it all so it's hard to follow the conversation you want to follow.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:42 AM   #3
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Interesting point, sunset. I might have had this brain problem even when I was younger (I noticed the problem when I was in junior high. Our volleyball coach would shout something during our volleyball games from the side line and other girls could understand him but I just couldnít distinguish the words!)
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:35 AM   #4
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Thanks for reporting back on your experience. I have always thought my wife should get tested but figured if you went they would automatically say you needed a hearing aid to sell you one. Glad to hear that is not the case.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:49 AM   #5
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Last week I heard an NPR interview on hearing.
The fellow explained about how it becomes harder to hear in a crowded restaurant, it might not be a hearing problem, but a brain problem that affects older people.

Turns out that young folks can tune out sounds easily so they only hear the person talking to them, but as we age we just hear it all so it's hard to follow the conversation you want to follow.
Maybe why I can't hear much better in a restaurant with my hearing aids. They fix the deficit in my hearing but not my brain.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:50 AM   #6
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Thanks for reporting back on your experience. I have always thought my wife should get tested but figured if you went they would automatically say you needed a hearing aid to sell you one. Glad to hear that is not the case.
I was a little worried about the same thing, but the test, for the most part, was objective, so there was probably nothing the tester could do to change the outcome. The recommendations may vary depending upon the tester, but mine suggested that I come back to have a test again in a few years, or if I feel my hearing is notably declining.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:57 AM   #7
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I knew my hearing had deteriorated when I needed Closed Captions watching TV. But I also noticed I could not hear conversation in restaurants and other crowded venues. Hearing aids fixed my problem...for the most part. It's not easy to hear in a restaurant, for example, but as long as I really focus I can have a normal conversation. I almost never use Closed Captions, but on occasion a certain movie, or TV show, will still need to be Closed Captioned.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:11 AM   #8
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I knew my hearing had deteriorated when I needed Closed Captions watching TV. But I also noticed I could not hear conversation in restaurants and other crowded venues. Hearing aids fixed my problem...for the most part. It's not easy to hear in a restaurant, for example, but as long as I really focus I can have a normal conversation. I almost never use Closed Captions, but on occasion a certain movie, or TV show, will still need to be Closed Captioned.
Did your hearing test show that you have trouble hearing certain frequencies in addition to having issues hearing conversations in restaurants?
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:23 AM   #9
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I went for a hearing test recently because my wife kept complaining that I wasnít hearing her. The audiologist told me that the good news was that my hearing was in excellent shape but the bad news is that I will have to tell my wife that I can hear her but am not listening to what she says.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:28 AM   #10
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Looking back, I always had a hard time in crowded places with a lot of noise compared to my school mates when I was growing up. I wonder if it has something to do with the way my brain processes mixed sounds? No idea. Someone said introverts don't do well with too much noise going on at once, but that's just someone's guess.
Years ago, I hired an Engineering graduate right out of university that had dyslexia (note, I have since learned that "Dyslexia" is a very broad term, a spectrum of brain-related actions, and is not only what I thought it was!). He was a smart guy and did very well. One of his "difficulties" was many-voices environments. He had more trouble than most trying to discern one conversation out of many going on. He also had more trouble than most tuning out other conversations while trying to concentrate. He was writing software in C in a cubicle environment. Oddly enough, his solution, and it worked very well for him, was to wear headphones while working, with music of his selection playing, like Gin Blossoms (shows the era ).

When in an impromptu hallway discussion on a problem with others all talking, he was pretty lost to follow a thread. I'd often tamp down the discussion some so he could ask a question, to be able to focus on one speaker at a time. I never had any problem with doing that, he was a very nice person, and came up with inventive solutions. I would have taken more where he came from if I could have gotten them
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:40 AM   #11
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The crowded or noisy environment affects me too. I often just say " Could you please say that again, I didn't hear what you said " and it usually works the second time figuring out what the person said. It is not due to bad hearing on my part, although I do have minor high frequency loss issues. It's the extra noise that keeps me from hearing conversations.
I suppose a full hearing test would probably be better than the quiet room with headphones and faint beeps type test.
Yes, it does seem to be worse as I age.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:50 AM   #12
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Thanks for reporting back on your experience. I have always thought my wife should get tested but figured if you went they would automatically say you needed a hearing aid to sell you one. Glad to hear that is not the case.
I was skeptical of the Costco test so I took a second test at a local medical center. The results were nearly identical, with significant dropoffs in the higher range. I then bought some hearing aids.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:00 PM   #13
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I went for a hearing test recently because my wife kept complaining that I wasnít hearing her. The audiologist told me that the good news was that my hearing was in excellent shape but the bad news is that I will have to tell my wife that I can hear her but am not listening to what she says.
Same issue.
I went for a Sam's free hearing test, all is OK with my ears...
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:24 PM   #14
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Ah, how I miss the yearly hearing tests given to me courtesy of the United States Air Force. It was 15 minutes of hearing the automated voice saying,

"You are pressing the button when no sound is present. Only press the button when there is a sound present"

"You are not pressing the button when a sound is present. Press the button when you hear a sound, no matter how faint"

It's official though, I can't hear.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:34 PM   #15
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Did your hearing test show that you have trouble hearing certain frequencies in addition to having issues hearing conversations in restaurants?
I don't recall exactly, but at my firsttest she may have made a general comment that as we age higher pitches become the first to become hard to hear. Which may explain why I don't hear my wife, like Alan . Even with hearing aids, I have trouble hearing my wife when she calls to me from thge kitchen while I am in the living room. I hear her voice but cannot discern the words; this is normal per the Hearing technician.
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:08 PM   #16
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I don't recall exactly, but at my firsttest she may have made a general comment that as we age higher pitches become the first to become hard to hear. Which may explain why I don't hear my wife, like Alan . Even with hearing aids, I have trouble hearing my wife when she calls to me from thge kitchen while I am in the living room. I hear her voice but cannot discern the words; this is normal per the Hearing technician.
Thank you, my tester said the same thing, that the higher-pitch hearing declines first, but you not hearing your wife even with your hearing aids, may be for another reason altogether Have her lower her voice and see if you could understand what she's saying.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:07 PM   #17
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I wonder if it has something to do with the way my brain processes mixed sounds? No idea.

The answer to this question is a big yes. As people age, their speech discrimination declines. The clarity of speech can be fine in quiet environments, but when noise (environmental and/or other people talking) is introduced, it can start to be much harder to understand.
This is why a hearing test has two components: the pure tone test, and the speech understanding test. The pure tone test is where you listen for the softest tones that you can hear across the 250-8000 Hz frequency range (pulsed pure tones, usually). Two people can have the exact same pure tone results (audiogram), but differ greatly in the speech understanding portion of a hearing evaluation.
Sadly, the speech understanding portion of the evaluation is still predominately conducted using words in quiet (the words presented to you under headphones have no competing noise). There are a few clinicians/centers out there who will instead use a test that contains competing noise at different signal-to-noise ratios (e.g. the QuickSIN test). Based on your comments, my guess is that you would probably fall apart pretty quickly in this test and show poor speech discrimination in noise.
People who have worked around noise are at greater risk for poor speech understanding (think veterans).
Also, for people whose pure tone results indicate hearing loss and candidacy for hearing aids, the experience with hearing aids will vary greatly largely due to speech understanding abilities; i.e., hearing aids can make it loud enough, but the cochlea's and brain's ability to sort out the speech from the noise is the bigger factor. Yes, newer hearing aids have some impressive speech-in-noise handling algorithms which are always getting better, but the patient's current biologic auditory capabilities will determine the final performance (and satisfaction!).
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:08 PM   #18
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I also have hearing aids from Costco. My tests showed a binaural high frequency loss, a common effect of aging. I've known that I have a substantial high frequency loss since elementary school, possibly an effect of ear infections.

The aids don't seem to help much with normal conversation but there are more birds in the world than I previously realized. I'm guessing that I long ago learned to 'hear' without the high frequencies so they don't add a lot to my speech comprehension.

But, I can definitely say that the directional effect of the aids helps a lot in restaurants and other noisy environments.

The aids also make acceptable Bluetooth headphones for use with my computer and phone. I can listen without disturbing others or being overheard.
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Hearing test
Old 11-14-2019, 02:31 PM   #19
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Hearing test

dadu, the Costco test did have a test section in which you had to repeat what the main speaker was saying in a crowded restaurant where you could hear other people talking at the same time. The intensity of the background conversation went up volume-wise as the test progressed. Like I said earlier, I had trouble with this even when I was in junior high and thatís why I thought it was some kind of brain processing problem at least in my case as my frequency hearing is in the high normal and Iíve had this noise issue for decades. Now after seeing Tellyís post, Iím thinking it may be the dyslexia kind of strange brain processing defect. A lot of noise around me makes me kind of go inward like I can hear myself better but nothing external.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:36 PM   #20
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dadu, the Costco test did have a test section in which you had to repeat what the main speaker was saying in a crowded restaurant where you could hear other people talking at the same time. The intensity of the background conversation went up volume-wise as the test progressed. Like I said earlier, I had trouble with this even when I was in junior high and that’s why I thought it was some kind of brain processing problem at least in my case as my frequency hearing is in the high normal and I had this noise issue for decades. Now after seeing Telly’s post, I’m thinking the dyslexia type of strange brain processing defect. A lot of noise around me makes me kind of go inward like I can hear myself better but nothing external.
Ah, sorry, tmm99, I missed that comment. Yes, it sounds like you have suffered with Auditory Processing Disorder, which is no fun to deal with as a child/teenager! It can manifest in various ways...:


Check out this overview on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audito...ssing_disorder
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