What Hearing Loss Sounds Like

What Hearing Loss Sounds Like

What It’s Like To Have Hearing Loss

When you have a hearing loss, it can be hard to explain how your life has changed along with your hearing. What’s more, many people don’t realize how hearing loss has affected their lives, as it’s such a gradual process. We’re here to help you help others understand, in turn creating a support system for you in your better-hearing journey.

Research tells us that concealing your hearing loss can create tension in your social or professional life that could negatively affect your mental health. Talking about it eases the stress of hiding the condition.

How to Talk About Your Hearing Loss

The way your hearing loss sounds to you can be different than another person’s loss. How your hearing loss sounds depends on the type (sensorineural or conductive, or even a mix) and degree of the hearing loss. As Starkey Hearing Technologies points out on their hearing loss simulator page, “a person with normal hearing can hear quiet, medium, and loud sounds that vary from low pitch to high pitch with amazing clarity and definition. When you have hearing loss, you often lose higher-pitch sounds, like the sound of women’s and children’s voices or consonants like t, s, and f. Even though you may be able to hear strong vowel sounds such as a, e, and i, speech becomes harder to comprehend.”

  • Pick someone you trust to listen to what you have to say.
  • Be honest and open; while vulnerability is hard, it creates strong connections and support.
  • Give them examples of instances where you cannot hear very well and what that is like for you
  • Show them what your hearing loss is like with Starkey’s hearing loss simulator

What Tinnitus Sounds Like

Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss but sounds very different than hearing loss. Anyone afflicted with the annoying ringing and hissing of tinnitus is well aware of the stress, anxiety, and irritability that accompany these phantom howls — but how do you explain that to others?

  • Pick someone you trust to listen to what you have to say.
  • Be honest and open; while vulnerability is hard, it creates strong connections and support.
  • Give them examples of instances where you are distracted or debilitated by your tinnitus and what that is like for you. If you can, think of instances for which the person was present, so they can better understand your reactions to it.
  • Try to convey the consistency of your tinnitus (how often it occurs during the day, at what times, and anything that seems to set it off).

Do not use the hearing loss simulator to test your own hearing. A hearing test simulator is for informational purposes and is not intended as a diagnostic evaluation. For a complete test and evaluation of your hearing, you should visit a qualified and licensed hearing care professional. While testing your hearing on the internet can give you some insight, we strongly recommend you be tested by hearing professionals, like us. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to begin getting relief from your hearing loss.

To get the most out of your consultation with us, we recommend bringing a companion with you so you feel supported, and so we can ask them about their experience with your hearing.

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

The 4 Different Types of Tinnitus

Tinnitus: Common, Constant, Treatable, and Manageable

Tinnitus sounds different to everyone, so it makes sense that there are four different types: subjective, objective, neurological, and somatic. Tinnitus is a fairly common medical malady that presents in a variety of ways. Simply defined, it is a phantom ringing, whooshing, or buzzing noise in your ear that only you can hear.

Hearing Things? No, You’re Not Crazy.
People experience tinnitus in a variety of ways: in some, a simple head shake will make the annoyance vanish; others, however, describe the condition as debilitating. Though research is ongoing, currently there is no cure. But relief can comes from a variety of treatments.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Typically the cause of tinnitus is uncertain. If there is no damage to the auditory system, your provider will look into these possible causes:

  • Jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Chronic neck muscle strain
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Certain medications
  • Wax buildup
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • A (generally benign) tumor that creates a strain on the arteries in the neck and head

The Four Different Types of Tinnitus:

  1. Subjective tinnitus: The most common form of tinnitus. Subjective symptoms can only be heard by the affected individual are usually caused by exposure to excessive noise. This type of tinnitus can appear and disappear suddenly, and may last 3–12 months at a time. In some severe cases, it may never stop.
  2. Neurological tinnitus: Usually caused by a disorder, such as Meniere’s disease, that primarily affects the brain’s auditory functions.
  3. Somatic tinnitus: Related to the sensory system. This form is caused, worsened, or otherwise related to the sensory system.
  4. Objective tinnitus: A rare form of tinnitus that may be caused by involuntary muscle contractions or vascular deformities. When the cause is treated, the tinnitus usually stops entirely. This is the only form of tinnitus that can be heard by an outside observer, and the only type that has the potential for a permanent fix.

Some Subtypes:

  • Musical tinnitus: Also called musical hallucinations or auditory imagery, this type is less common. Simple tones or layers of tones come together to recreate a melody or composition. Musical tinnitus tends to occur in people who have had hearing loss and tinnitus for some time, though people with normal hearing or increased sensitivity to sound can also have musical hallucinations.
  • Pulsatile tinnitus: A rhythmic tinnitus that aligns with the beat of the heart. It usually indicates a change of blood flow to the vessels near the ear or an increase in awareness of the blood flow to the ear.
  • Low-frequency tinnitus: Perhaps the most confusing type of tinnitus because sufferers aren’t sure whether the sound is being produced internally or externally. Often, the tones correspond to the two lowest octaves on a piano and are described as a humming, murmuring, rumbling, or deep droning. This type of noise seems to affect people most strongly.

Tinnitus can be managed through strategies that make it less bothersome. No single approach works for everyone, and there is no FDA-approved drug treatment, supplement, or herb proven to be any more effective than a placebo. Behavioral strategies and sound-generating devices often offer the best treatment results — this is partially why distracting the individual’s attention from these sounds can prevent a chronic manifestation.

Some of the most effective methods of tinnitus management are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy
  • Masking
  • Biofeedback

There are countless treatment options, but they vary in effectiveness depending upon the type of tinnitus. More than 50 percent of those who experience tinnitus have an inner-ear hearing impairment, meaning that a connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is likely. Though wearing hearing aids helps ease tinnitus (they amplify the sounds outside, making the “inside” sounds less frequent), they are not the only method: careful diagnosis by a professional with years of experience creating solutions for tinnitus sufferers is essential.