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Experimenting on My Hearing Loss (psaux.io)
156 points by paddlesteamer on Dec 29, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 79 comments

Objectively, my hearing is just fine. I can hear frequency sweeps and tones perfectly well, but all my life I've been unable to pick out words in conversation if there's even moderate background noise. "What?" is likely my most commonly uttered phrase.

This leads to people constantly telling me to get my "hearing checked", when it's not the ability to hear tones that's the problem.

Rather irritating explaining this to people.

I have the same issue. Worse, when I did get my hearing checked, the supposed test for difficulty picking up speech against background noise was terribly and obviously flawed. They used a very short (few seconds) clip that looped. My brain quickly learned the loop and subtracted it. What I can't do is filter out unpredictable background noise. Plus the lab is an idealized environment without distractions.

Want to accurately test it? Put me in the lobby of your hearing center with a wall phone and try to have a conversation with me, it would be immediately apparent. Of course they won't do that (too many uncontrolled variables) but they could at least try to make the test more lifelike.

It's very frustrating because I feel like if I could get a formal diagnosis I could ask for accommodations at work like not using the telephone for support calls (email and instant message instead).

It also makes relationships difficult; I've been married four years and my wife is only now starting to actually understand and believe me when I say I didn't hear what she said (vs just not caring / not listening).

I feel like if I could say up front, "I have a diagnosed condition that affects my hearing," I could avoid a lot of problems and confusion. Unfortunately I can't seem to get a diagnosis.

I hope you'll get your diagnosis eventually.

> It also makes relationships difficult; I've been married four years and my wife is only now starting to actually understand and believe me when I say I didn't hear what she said (vs just not caring / not listening).

I feel for you. This reminded me of my recent discovery. You've probably seen this[0] image test circulating on social media the other day. Few days ago, when working with my wife through some issues between us, I showed this to her. To my utter disbelief, she scored 6. I score 2. 3 on a good day. Suddenly, both of us realized why we're getting annoyed with each other whenever talking about things like remodelling the kitchen, rearranging the living room, or planning the layout of a new flat. As it turns out, she truly can visualize everything in her head. And she now understands that I really do need to measure everything and drop it into CAD software before I'm ready to talk.

All because of a simple test that I only remembered because I've been obsessed with my aphantasia for over a year now. This makes me wonder: how many of such undiagnosed differences of perception are there between couples, that make living together difficult, because neither side can understand the other truly perceives the world differently?


[0] - https://www.reddit.com/r/Aphantasia/comments/aioyga/simple_a...

This is something the wife and I have had many conversations about as well.

It sounds like we have an inverted situation to yours, where I was lucky to have a similar capability for visualization and spatial sense as your wife. This frustrated my wife and I to no end as she'd be driving the car and I'd say "you know you're basically riding the shoulder" and she would legitimately not realize the car was not centered. (To be clear, not from lack of attention, but from over-judging the distance from the left lane.) We had similar snips to your point about "can't you just visualize it in your head" (As it turns out, no, but I had trouble wrapping my head around that at first.)

For almost a decade this just ended up in recurring irritation and arguments whenever we drove together, until, and kinda to the point of the GP, we realized I _cannot differentiate dark objects on black backgrounds_, despite otherwise excellent visual acuity and response times. This may sound orthogonal to the car story, but to your point, after many inverses where she'd tease me about "well maybe you can't find your shirt just like I can't find the center of the road" we started to ask "wait maybe we both actually just really suck at this one class of task."

It's not quite as stark as the "can't visualize 3d fields" to be clear, but it was still a moment of "wait, we've just been living in completely different perceptual universes for a long long time now." (E.g. we'd be in a dark room, I'd walk into a wall or be unable to find anything, she would think I was making a bad joke or being obtuse.)

I tend to believe that this runs so so so much deeper than we know, and have made it the subject of some sci fi shorts that I've been hacking on. (That our mental models, ways of reasoning about the world, perceptions of reality, are truly distinct, the whole "what if what you think is green is blue to me" conundrum; and what happens when rational decisions coincide in pathological ways given varying, but individually rational and internally, although not externally consistent, perceptions)

> As it turns out, she truly can visualize everything in her head.

Here I would have told you that I can visualize everything in my head... until I took the test – definite 1. I can visualize everything in some loose sense, but it is encoded differently. Like, to use a poor analogy, a computer can represent an image as binary digits. I can understand 6 in my mind. Perhaps I took the test too literally?

Nah, you have to take it literally. You score 6 if you can - while awake - conjure clear, colorful images in your head on demand, that you can manipulate. Based on my reading on the topic and talking with my wife, it's very close to arbitrary rendering in your field of vision.

With my score of 2, I also "encode differently". I can sort-of work with imaginary visual data in my head, but it feels like - excuse the bad analogy - like looking into a debugger hooked up to a program that tries to render something. I am aware of an imaginary object, I can manipulate it symbolically. I can stack transformations in my head, like "it's rotated horizontally", "and also on the other axis", and "it's red", but most of my manipulations happen at this symbolic layer. The rendering pipeline goes nowhere; if I focus, I can sometimes force an unclear image to appear briefly.

Fascinating. In an earlier life I worked as a graphic designer and always felt I had a keen ability to accurately visualize the art in my head before putting pen to paper, so to speak. But never like having a canvas in front of me, definitely more symbolic like you describe.

I'm not sure I can completely relate to your experience with needing CAD, other than I've noticed that sometimes the real world is flipped to my mental model, which can lead to funny results when my actions are backwards. I can usually 'visualize' things like that, at least in some abstract sense.

Well, that is, except specifically when it comes to my bother and father. They can somehow explain things to each other and know exactly what they are talking about with ease, as if they have some kind of telepathic link. They can say the exact same thing to me and I'll have absolutely no clue as to what they are talking about until they draw a picture. Now you have me curious to know if they are able to score 6.

As someone who has been profoundly Deaf since infancy, i found your description of auditory testing to be spot on.

I am not an expert by experience but what you have described sounds like a possible Auditory Processing Disorder (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_processing_disorder). Experts in this disorder are very limited but there are strategies available for managing APD. However there is rarely a silver bullet for hearing disorders.

That's a bummer. It's extremely unfortunate that the moat of medical training serves as an excuse for audiologists to not listen to sound engineers; they tend to end up with excellent understanding of the human ear but very little of the underlying physics.

Have you done hearing testing? How well did you do on the word recognition tests?

I was wondering the same - I was a concert once, and was putting in earplugs - when I noticed one ear wasn't affected as much as the other when I put the earplugs in.

Testing showed I had some hearing loss - but not a lot. I ended up getting more tests. They played a series of words into my "good" ear and I had to repeat them: "duck"... "duck". "concrete" .... "concrete"... it was pretty funny.

Then they did the same thing in my other ear: "schmwaaa" ... "Smchmwaa?"... "Grunnnngch"... "wtf?!". Turned out I had an accoustic neuroma - a tumor on the auditory nerve. Got it cut out with some neurosurgery, but now am 100% deaf in one ear with shitty tinnitus.

Hearing loss is pretty common so I don't want to scare-monger - but, OP - follow up on the tests!

(Source: I am profoundly deaf.)

Hearing loss isn't only about volume and "hearing". It's also about understanding. When you get a hearing test, they aren't just testing frequencies. They'll also ask you to repeat back words that are said to you. There IS treatment for this, and you may actually benefit from a hearing aid or some other device that would help.

Your insurance should cover a hearing test! Just get it! It's pretty painless and kind of fun. Worst case scenario? They tell you your hearing is fine and you're back where you started.

Good luck!

Sounds like you have Auditory Processing Disorder. You might be able to train yourself to do better in noise with something like https://neurotone.com/lace-auditory-training-program

The course is $99, the diagnostic test package they've linked is $176.

That's a high entry price for something so similar in concept to the brain-training snake-oil schemes that used to be sold in the back of magazines

I have the same problem. A lot of people do. For me, it developed during my 20s. My mother is a speech language pathologist so the problem was identified early.

What you have is a hearing discrimination loss. It's often caused by diminished hearing of higher frequencies. Hearing aids can help or if the loss of higher frequencies is total, then frequency-transposition hearing aids may be needed. Learning to lip read can also help a lot too.

Other people without hearing discrimination loss have probably experienced what it's like if they've ever listened to a cheap TV with crummy internal speakers and had to turn on subtitles. Very high frequencies on cheap speakers are often diminished or distorted. That makes it much more difficult to discriminate spoken words even though you can hear them fine.

If you haven't done so already, go get your hearing tested by a quality audiologist (there is such a thing as a bad audiologist). It can help identify exactly what's going on and give you a good baseline to compare against tests in the future (these things often get worse with age).

This sounds like the 'Cocktail Party Effect', which usually gets worse with age. I've started to experience it in restaurants with lots of hard surfaces.


I have the same problem. As an additional data point, I have no problem hearing the dialog in documentaries, youtube shows, "casual" TV shows, etc, but I am having a very hard time understanding the dialog in movies and more serious TV shows.

It seems like around 2000 dialogue in movies and TV shows started to get quieter and quieter while action sequences got louder and louder. It's awful. I am hearing impaired and I watch everything with subtitles, however, I really don't have an issue with intelligibility of dialogue while watching older shows and movies.

That's because older movies were mastered for stereo instead of surround sound. If surround sound is downmixed to stereo, extra care must be taken to compensate for the loss of spatial information, otherwise the dialogs get overwhelmed by the sound effects from the surround channels.

Anecdotally, I,ve been able to improve significantly on this by training myself to pause for a second or two before the ,,what?,,

If I give my brain that time to catch up, it,s able to put context and sound together into meaning most of the time.

This sounds like an auditory processing disorder. I have delayed understanding of words when I'm really exhausted, wrung out or sick. It's not a hearing issue. It's a brain issue, basically.


It sounds like it could be an attention issue. Have you been evaluated for ADHD?

Are you taller than most people around you?

What's the theory behind this question? If someone is taller, one could assume the sounds from other conversations are traveling further (across heads) to the ears of the tall person?

If you're taller and standing in a group, it's more difficult to get visual cues (e.g. seeing people's lips move), and you are further away, and people generally don't make an effort to speak in your direction.

I have age-related hearing loss: bass frequencies are ok, but high frequencies drop off. When I first got hearing aids, I thought that what they did was boost the frequencies as necessary as (I think) described by this author. But hearing is not a linear system. The hearing aids do boost the frequencies where I am deficient, but by an amount much smaller than the difference between my audiogram and normal. I think that the objective of hearing aids (for mild hearing loss like mine) is to boost frequencies just enough for them to be audible to my brain, at which stage the non-linear system in my brain processes the signals to sound normal.

I have not confirmed this speculation with an audiologist, so I would love comments on this from someone who works on hearing-aid software.

> boost the frequencies as necessary

The trick is figuring out what's necessary. The first half of the post made me nervous, because it simply applied a gain of threshold - basedB. As he discovered, that's too loud.

What you want is a compressor. The second half of the post boosts the signal just above the threshold, but it's a little more complex than that. I haven't really studied this, but for starters you want to take into account things like the Fletcher-Munson curves.

I am intrigued by these types of projects. As my hearing gets worse, I'd like to be able to listen to music and watch movies with nice headphones, but with the assistance that comes from hearing aids.

You have the classic "ski slope" hearing loss, which is common with age. Your hearing aids should be boosting the high freequencies to fit your loss profile and not somewhat less than you need to make you work for it. I would go back to your provider and ask for an increase in the high freqs. Alternatively, lots of hearing aids these days come with a smartphone app which lets you set base/mid/treble so you could alter them yourself but you don't get the flexability the provider would.

Sorry, I did not mean to mislead - my high frequency boost works well for me. It just that the total DB increment is not the difference between my audiogram and normal.

I recently noticed that my high-frequency hearing was going (40-yr-old man). My GF (works in a hospital) brought home a digital thermometer that beeps when it's finished a reading. My GF can hear the beeps clearly, but I cannot. She has to tell me when the thermometer is ready to be read. Perhaps I should go to an audiologist to get a proper exam.

> Perhaps I should go to an audiologist to get a proper exam.

Yes, yes, definitely do. I put my exam off for years until the effect of hearing loss began to affect my work. I literally couldn't hear questions asked by quietly spoken people or in conference rooms with noisy aircon. Also, because my mother-in-law refused to wear them (she was severely deaf) and I knew how much this annoyed my wife.

I wish I had gone several years earlier! It is just great to be able to follow normal conversations, listen to birdsong, and even hear the rattles in the car. I wear mine religiously, even when on my own on the house. Just to hear the little sounds that the world makes as you interact with it.

Very occasionally I notice people looking at my ears when they have seen the aids for the first time, but this is frankly nothing compared with the embarrassment that can be caused if you ignore someone because you haven't heard them, or attempt to guess what they have said and get it wrong.

You should: I am told that the older you are, the harder it is to adapt to hearing aids.

> I am told that the older you are, the harder it is to adapt to hearing aids.

I started wearing hearing aides in my mid 50s and had no issues, and the positive effect on my hearing was immediately obvious (night and day, in fact). However, I think if you were much older and losing manual dexterity and visual acuity there might be problems - e.g. they can be quite fiddly to put in and clean on a daily basis. Cleaning the tube that goes in your ear is like threading a large needle with a fat wire. Steady fingers and corrected eyesight helps.

It's not really the age as such, but how long you've left an untreated hearing loss for that can be an issue.

Check for ear wax, once I got it cleaned out and was like the treble knob of the world went from -2 to +2.

Chuffed to not only see a hearing related post on the front page of HN but also that you used my Audiogram Creator to generate your results.

Is there an at-home test I can do to get the data to fill out an audiogram on your site?

Anyone got any good ideas for the reverse problem? I can still hear 20khz at 30 years old, which is the standard switching frequency for most power supplies. Induction cooktops drive me up the wall, I can't stand to be close to one when its on. (And yes, I've recorded the sound, run it through a fft, removed the lower frequencies and it still annoys me)

It's very interesting to read that you actually need to wear your hearing aids all the time. Because, I have the exact same condition with almost exactly the same loss curve (except at 8kHz where it's ~10dB above yours), but I only need to wear my aids in conferences or lectures (school was particularly hard). I refused to wear them and still do, because they wear me out in 1-2 hours.

Now, I have more severe problems, because of all this teleconferencing going on. Not a single smartphone I know supports what you are doing on the PC. Are there any?

I was told that the more you wear them the more your brain adjusts, normally. Eventually you might be more tired without them.

My experience is quite different: if I don't wear them I am in control when I get tired. I get tired when I need to focus too much on lipreading and actually following the conversation. If there is nothing worth listening to I don't get tired.

I'm used/adapted to go without them, so basically forcing myself to "re-adjust" my brain by wearing them all the time would make my hearing actually far worse than it feels. It's really weird, each doctor who examined my hearing was amazed how well I actually hear without any aids with my condition. So, I was good with wearing aids only when I really needed them, but with teleconferencing it doesn't work anymore and would be worse if I was used to wearing aids.

> It's really weird, each doctor who examined my hearing was amazed how well I actually hear without any aids with my condition.

The brain is amazing - I realized how much I rely on visual cues for hearing when I very faintly "heard" a GIF of someone mouthing the words f* you!

Another thing is the ambiguity that comes with not really hearing high pitched sounds - many words with consonants become very hard to distinguish. "Cat - hat - sat" are similar visually and if you only hear "at - at - at", your brain is still able to tell which one is the correct by context. This is terrible when learning a new language though.

I still managed to learn another two languages, it's possible.

Not sure if this is a solution for you, since you describe neural processing fatigue. The Apple AirPods Pro have the ability to modify sound output based on an audiogram. The audiogram can be generated by other certified apps, that have been calibrated, on the regular AirPods for example. It is then stored in the Apple Health app. It is pretty amazing, wearing the AirPods in this mode is almost as good as hearing aids. But I am not sure if it can address your neural fatigue, for which you might want to get a second opinion.

Have you got a link for one of the 'certified apps'? I couldn't find anything online but I think my grandad could use something like this

These apps are found in the 'Health App' under 'Audiogram'. The app I used is called Mimi Hearing Test. Free, and calibrated for regular Airpods. There are two more apps listed for audiograms, Streaks and SonicCloud Personalized Sound.

Once there's an audiogram captured into the Health app, go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Accomodations > Transparency Mode.

Some of these are not immediately obvious as links. He can then modify the amplification and 'brightness' of the sound.

I'd urge you have him get real hearing aids though. They are pricey, but so much better long term. There are newer ones that can connect to IOS devices and stream sound.

I have almost the same audiogram as well (hearing loss since birth, 32 years ago). I got hearing aids two months ago. Best decision I've made in my life! Now I can hear birds and I don't get tired when speaking with people.

Maybe you need to lower the gain? That will make it easier to wear them full-time. Now my brain have adjusted to the new sound and tbh I don't think I can live without hearing aids now.

I have Oticon Ruby with open domes.

I've got my first good pair with open domes when I was preparing for university. They are still good, and I let my hearing aids be programmed so that the lowest gain setting was the most comfortable, with two directional microphone configurations for different circumstances. But still, the extra noise coming with the additional gain is wearing me out. Perhaps it's some another condition I'm not aware of. I am quite sensitive to noise despite being half deaf with ~50% loss.

Because of our hearing loss we haven't trained our brains to filter out noise the same way people with normal hearing have since birth. So it might be possible to train the brain, but the only way to do that is to feed more sound to the brain.

I'm in a similar situation left ear is better than normal for my age (46M), but my right ear has profound loss (ie: nothing, falls to 80 dB) above 2kHz. Since it's profound amplifying hearing aids won't do a damn thing (apart from possibly damaging the hearing for the good part).

I've thought about looking at if there are frequency shifting hearing aids or even just earpieces to shift some of those higher frequencies into my hearing range of the right ear.

I haven't spent too much digging deeper into it - since I'm completely functional at normal levels, however whispering by anyone and low volume female voices on my right side are completely lost. I typically do that "speak to my good ear" contortion. Or just sit in the corner of the table or sit to the right in other conversations.

You might have similar sound sensitivities in your ears, but your brain also needs to process the information coming in, maybe you differ in this regard, and an amplification may help some people.

My ears are fine, and I still sometimes dont understand what people are talking about in some situations.

The thing I hate is that the tests stop at a stupidly low frequency. I don't care if I still have good hearing at 8khz, my left ear hears up to 16k, and my right ear barely registers at 10, yet no is not testing for you if you're a musician. And ever had an ENT condescendingly tell you "you can still hear about the same as a normal person, what's the problem?" while smugly writing you a free hearing test?

And no one's going to actually figure out treatment, because there's no money in it.

I have had the same experience several times now. "Oh you have perfect hearing." No I don't, I can hear a constant ringing at all times and can't understand anything being said on a speaker phone. My high-range hearing is shot, you just can't measure it.

I even know the exact frequency of the ringing - it's 15,734 Hz, from the flyback transformers of old CRT monitors. It's kind of weird to know that but have multiple audiologists be unable to check.

"we tailored the test so that we don't have to acknowledge that almost a fifth of the entire population suffers from something that we can only describe with a word for the symptom, not even several different diagnostic terms for possible causes"

It's deeply disappointing.

Now this is a real hacker post! Kudos to the author.

I have some mild tinnitus and listen to hours of audiobooks a day. I could see this being a great add-on to apps like Audible or Bound.

I must say - After having Lasik done to my eyes and then not beeing happy with the results. I am quite amazed that there is so little real research going on with regards to senses everyone needs to function in society. Hearing, seeing, feeling.

I saw a documentary about the boston bombers, and a lot of the survivors lost their legs or had their legs maimed. One of the survivors had a leg that was basically an attempted save and she elected to amputate it,she said that what she would miss the most was feeling her toes in the sand. Now even the though the thought of that had never crossed my mind before, I could immediately correlate that feeling with my own sense of loss wrt. my vision.

The older I get the more dismayed i get with the medical community / industry. There's so much pain in the world, and it seems like the people most competent with the issues, are more occupied by nonsense. In almost all other professional trades, people willingly give their time and energy to solve problems. But when it comes to the most important machine as in - ourselves it's all for the money.

> There's so much pain in the world, and it seems like the people most competent with the issues, are more occupied by nonsense. In almost all other professional trades, people willingly give their time and energy to solve problems. But when it comes to the most important machine as in - ourselves it's all for the money.

How many engineers work in, say, making education available for the poor vs "improving engagement" (generating addiction) for ad-based entertainment businesses?

Resources aren't usually allocated the way one would suppose is the best for society as a whole; but I don't see how that's in any way exclusive to medicine.

In what way were you unhappy with Lasik? Was it a matter of ecpectations or do you consider the end result could be better?

Sorry for the late reply, but basically, - for me - the procedure is window dressing, its a a scam. I don't have any hard numbers to give you, but i assume 7/8 out of ten patients get away with it. For the remaining 10-20% of patients (atleast) theres no recourse and they have to live with the shitty results.

I thought i did my due diligence, but i only read medical papers, and in medical papers they standardize results. So if you see 3 sharp A's thats 20/20, even though theres only one A on the board. And this is not to mention halos, starburst(just google them). From my perspective they lie about the risk and it's an filthy industry built on this lie.

I've used glasses and contact lenses and i have never had so many issues with my eyes as after i had laser treatment on my eyes. The biggest one was a migraine that would go away after 10 minutes if i closed one eye but i had it for 1 1 /2 year. I can honestly tell you that that shit brok me. Enduring pain every day will fuck you up.

So i had different results on both my eyes, not particular good on either i'd say but according to the optometrist i had great vision. Eventually the pain subsided, but it's not gone and comes back quite often (multiple times each day) Then theres the discrepancy in vision quality. One thing is not seeing sharp - how about text appearing grey in one eye and not the other. I have double vision albeit only under certain circumstances(light). I have variable sharpness. I have have hazy vision. I have a 2k USD OLED that i dont use, because white letters on black background is like a river of white fog beneathe the text. It's like a light shadow thats below bright stuff. I also have this in real life, i see two white powercables, one like a opaque version of the other.

My night vision is a tragedy, the red break lights on a car will appear as large as a house with enough distance(it gets worse the further away i am from the source). Frontlights will blind me, led lights from scooters are offensive.

So all in all it bad all around. Nothing good to say about it at all.

Turns out theres these things called Higher order aberrations which basically is unevenness in the lens after treatment, which makes light bend. And get this, they don't diagnose for this because they don't have any tools or treatment for it basically.

Found this site after the fact ; https://lasikcomplications.com/

There is one major flaw in the presented approach. The base of any hearing aid is frequency compression (in each frequency band), as the hearing impairment induce, that a patient loss the ability to hear the soft sounds, but the loud sound cannot be amplified, as the threshold of pain remains the same. Usually, the gain curve resembles two linear lines. Feel free to reach out https://www.linkedin.com/in/vbouse if you wanna discuss the topic in more depth (i designed some algorithms for hearing aids)

You could make an analog version of this fairly easily too, with a handful of resistors and capacitors to form a high pass network and a signal booster to get the 60db of gain you need.

It's awesome how easy this kind of experimentation is today. Thirty years ago, I worked with a mathematician at JPL who used fairly specialized equipment to find a frequency notch where he had lost his hearing -- at roughly 8k, IIRC, in addition to his total inability to hear anything over ~12k. (The latter was probably just normal age-related high-frequency hearing loss). In those days, an accurate signal generator was an expensive piece of lab equipment... .

Indeed! And here is even a website which uses pre-made tones and generates a personal audiogram with a bookmarkable link: https://hearingtest.online/

It might be interesting to do some experiments that audiologists don’t do. In particular, music recognition, like recognizing the difference between major and minor chords.

In addition to my normal hearing loss, I sometimes have trouble with this in one ear. Fortunately it has always gone away, so far.

I suspect that some amount of this is your brain adapting to changes in hearing. Perhaps there is some way to study how people adjust to wearing new hearing aids?

I found it very interesting that (unless I misread) you are applying a time-varying gain to the whole spectrum rather than using a simple filter or EQ. Have you experimented with setting a 31-band graphic EQ to the inverse of your audiogram, or multiplying the FFT bands by a frequency-dependent gain and using IFFT? If so, does the time-windowing approach work better?

I would also be curious to know this. Maybe it's possible that non linearities of hearing make the time-based approach better?

I have proven hearing loss in my right ear, and some in my left, but the right side is worst. The most difficult thing is that my frequency range is skewed toward the bass. I have trouble hearing high frequency sounds, but the low frequency sounds are extra loud to me. As a result, most sound is to "bass"y for me.

I've been using technology to adjust for this since I was a kid in the 1980's and 90's: Turn the treble up, the bass down on every radio I own.

I recently installed VoiceMeter Banana on my PC and I can use it to do the same thing. It really can help!

I’m surprised that 30 decibels is considered mild hearing loss. Every 6 decibels is roughly a halving of sound pressure so if you have 30 decibels of loss you’re hearing 1/32 of the sound that a person without any hearing loss would hear. That’s not mild!

This is a very cool project, I wonder if modern hearing aids work in a similar way- by tuning their response to the person wearing them?

I have age related hearing loss with 30db at low frequency and 65db at high frequency. Surprisingly you can't tell you lost that much if it happen gradually. You just don't realize you no longer hear the birds chirping or the computer fan running. Eventually you realize you have a hard time understanding people and ask them to repeat words. When you get hearing aids you realize your brain has been trying to compensate for this hearing loss. You relied on lip movements and context more. Suddenly everything sounds much louder with hearing aids. But over time your brain adapts back.

> I wonder if modern hearing aids work in a similar way- by tuning their response to the person wearing them?

I have a basic model provided free by the (UK) NHS. It is tuned to my audiogram by my NHS audiologist.

More sophisticated models do a lot of tailoring, both to the person and to the environment. By way of example:


"Mild" in contrast to "severe". With a 30dB loss, you can still hear the louder noises, speech, etc. I have a 30dB loss in the mid range in one ear, just where it matters for speech. I can hear and understand people pretty well, but fail when they are whispering, or when they are speaking something else than my native language in a noisy environment. On the positive side: if I sleep on my good ear, a lot of the background noise disappears.

I am 41 and I can still hear tones out to about 17khz. Spent a lot of time in rock shows in my 20’s too. If I knew what I had done right I’d put it in a bottle and sell it. Probably time will catch up to me too in a few years.

Hearing aids have been doing this for 20+ years. The big players in the market have been fine-tuning their algorithms and hardware for a long time to be able to fit even severe hearing losses with a good sound. Modern aids also very impressive with sound localisation and context-switching between people speaking in groups.

Edit: That's not to say this isn't a cool project, it is VERY cool.

The final recording is interesting as someone with average hearing - it almost sounds like someone with a lisp articulating very, very carefully. I suppose “s” must be a very high frequency sound.

I'm pleasantly surprised I'm able to hear the sweep all the way up to 8000 Hz! It's just slightly quieter at the top...

Very cool, very interesting.

Just wowww

I know, right?!

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