New Tool Lets You Hear The Way They Do


Until you’ve been there, it’s difficult to understand what hearing loss sounds like. Maybe you’ve even accused a loved one of having “selective hearing” from time to time.

If your hearing is in the normal range, you experience the full range of sound, from a whisper to the crash of a cymbal. This isn’t the case for someone dealing with hearing loss. You may think that hearing loss is simply a reduction in volume, like turning down your headphones or putting your fingers in your ears, but often that isn’t the case at all.

Most people with hearing loss, especially as they age, lose their high-pitch hearing abilities first. It is the high pitches that give clarity and definition to speech, according to Kate Marchelletta, Au.D., a clinical audiologist with Henry Ford Health System.

“Often, patients will say ‘I can hear; I just can’t understand what people are saying.’ Over time, words like ‘ship,’ ‘hip’ and ‘sip’ all sound the same,” explains Dr. Marchelletta.

That same lack of clarity forces conversations to blend into the background noise at places like shopping centers, crowded offices and restaurants as the brain has to work harder to filter out background noise AND overcome hearing loss. Imagine the frustration of watching your dining partner’s lips move, but all you hear is the constant drone of 100 conversations going on simultaneously around you!

To help people without hearing loss better understand what it’s like for someone living with it, Henry Ford’s Division of Audiology has launched a Hearing Loss Simulator. The online tool allows people with normal hearing capabilities to hear what the world sounds like to someone with hearing loss. Users can browse the page and listen to clips that simulate the sounds someone with mild and moderate hearing loss would hear in a variety of situations as compared to someone with normal hearing.

Hope for Those With Hearing Loss

shutterstock 238517179 The good news for those with hearing loss is that digital technology has recently advanced hearing aids by light years, says Dr. Marchelletta. From tiny devices that fit completely inside the ear, to others that have Bluetooth compatibility, the possibilities are staggering.

Patient satisfaction with hearing aids has significantly improved in recent years, so most hearing loss no longer has to disconnect anyone from their world.

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, consider scheduling a complete hearing exam with an audiologist. The exam and even the hearing aids, if they are needed, may be covered by insurance.

Check out the Hearing Loss Simulator and make an appointment for a hearing test today or call 1-888-617-6187 for information.

Categories: FeelWell