The Confusing Thing About Hearing Loss

Over the past few weeks, we have received numerous calls from people who did not purchase their hearing care or their hearing aids from Avalon. Some of these people ‘fired’ their hearing care provider but most of them simply did NOT like their hearing aids. One woman purchased her aids from a reputable company but did not enjoy wearing them because many of the sounds of life irritated her. She had gone back to the company three times and told them about this problem. The problem was never resolved. I tested her hearing, doing six extra tests that most clinics and retail stores don’t bother doing, and found that she had RECRUITMENT.

Hearing loss can be confusing
People with sensorineural hearing loss (nerve deafness) often suffer from this thing called  “recruitment.” Recruitment is an abnormal growth in loudness perception. What may seem a little loud to someone with normal hearing is perceived as extremely loud to a person with damaged hearing. A person with hearing loss may misunderstand part of a conversation and ask you to repeat it. Raising your voice a little is perceived as a huge increase in volume. Suddenly that person is responding, “You don’t have to yell at me.” Does this scenario sound familiar?

With sensorineural hearing loss, some of the delicate, hairlike nerves of the inner ear are damaged and destroyed. It is as though the inner ear is bruised. Increasing the volume can cause discomfort and pain, much like touching a bruise.

Definition of hearing recruitment

Recruitment can contribute to denial about hearing loss
Because of this loudness sensitivity, people often remain in denial about their hearing loss. They ask themselves, “How could anything be wrong with my hearing if things seem so loud to me? It must be someone else’s fault. They must be mumbling.” Others rationalize not seeking help because they assume hearing aids make everything loud, and they cannot tolerate loudness.

Many people who have invested in their hearing care still struggle because their hearing aids make certain sounds or voices too loud. It becomes a hassle to wear their hearing aids so they don’t wear them regularly.

What kind of sounds bother you?

It is important that specific hearing tests be conducted to determine one’s tolerance to loudness. A thorough case history should include the types of noise that bother you. Some people are sensitive to low pitch sounds such as an engine running. Others cannot tolerate high frequencies such as a baby’s cry. Some people are disturbed by impact noises, a door slamming or dishes being stacked. To ensure a successful fitting, hearing instruments must be designed to protect this sensitive hearing. Amplified sound should not exceed the “loudness discomfort levels” determined during your hearing test.

Until several years ago, traditional hearing aids literally amplified everything. They were designed to help you hear well in a quiet environment. As the listening situation changed, the hearing aid provided either too much or too little volume. Many people rejected hearing aids because no allowance was made for the sensitivity to loudness.

Extra Tests

We take the extra time needed to test for recruitment

At Avalon, we have the testing protocols and technology to help most people with hearing loss and recruitment. If you suffer from sensitivity to loud sounds, we carefully choose technology that is always self-adjusting, automatically keeping sounds within your comfort range. One of my favorite technologies is the Starkey LIVIO 2400 with Edge Mode technology. It literally is the smartest hearing aid I’ve ever fit, and my clients love the natural and soft sound quality it gives you!

Take a TEST-DRIVE in Avalon’s newest smart and soft hearing technology

If you can relate to being bothered by louder sounds, it may be time to have your hearing checked. Only a thorough hearing test including loudness tolerance tests, case history and lifestyle assessment can determine the best fitting for you. Every person and every hearing loss is unique.

People who have tried hearing aids in the past and were unsuccessful now have new hope. In fact, people who have been reluctant to seek help because of other people’s negative experiences can also be assured that help is now available. So don’t let a negative experience (yours or someone else’s’) keep you from getting the help you need!

Call Avalon Hearing today (916) 235-9771 and schedule an appointment to see if we can get you hearing more clearly AND more comfortably!

P.S. The next time you misunderstand what someone is saying, ask them to speak slower, not louder.  Avoid telling them you can’t hear them because then, they’re more likely to raise their voice. Tell them that you want to get what they are saying. Would they please speak a little slower!