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Author Topic: Hearing Loss
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 15:43      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For as long as I can remember, I've had a hard time understanding people when they talk. I can hear them, volume-wise, but I can't make out what they're saying. To compensate, I've learned to read lips. Granted, I can't mute the TV and just read their lips to follow the dialogue, but reading lips helps me fill in the gaps.

My family gets upset with me when I turn on the Closed Captioning to watch TV. Turning up the volume just overwhelms me, so I turn on CC and turn down the volume so I can hear it comfortably. (Besides, CC reveals a lot of background dialogue even normal hearers can't hear!)

I've had my hearing tested, but I've always passed because it's just listening for beeps. I can hear high and low frequencies very well—too well, it seems. Is there a test to diagnose my symptoms? Where would I go to have it done? Should I see an audiologist? What questions would I ask?

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 16:37      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Does the test you passed had a part with background noise? If not, you could have what I had: accumulation of liquid in the middle ear. Gets treated easily.

In any way, yes, go see an audiologist. You know you have a problem, and your actual physician can't track it. An expert is in order. (Unless, of course, your problem is psychosomatic. But if the audiologist's tests fails, at least you'll know.)

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Galileo Galilei

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 16:45      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So you can hear tones well, but have poor speech discrimination right? I'm getting Josh on the case, but I think that what you're doing is the best thing you can do. Hearing aids wouldn't help because they amplify/remove background noise. You may want to go to an audiologist to see if there is any condition that can be fixed, but if not I'd say you're doing the best you can.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 16:53      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Are you sure the problem is your ears and not just the way your brain processes speech? Audio processing disorders are recognized and often treated as learning disabilities. Clearly you're compensating nicely but that might be an avenue worth exploring.

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Mander
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 17:03      Profile for Mander     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm very interested in these answers because I have a very similar problem.

First as a language learner, then as a language teacher, and just in life in general, I find I have a much harder time understanding people who are unfamiliar to me; I have to actively listen to get what they are saying. As a person's speech habits become more... imprinted .... on me, the ease of comprehension increases.

Fluid, huh? That might be worth mentioning to my doctor.

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 17:04      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xanth: Yeah, that's the other thing I was wondering. I've also been noticing difficulty speaking. I stumble over pronunciations and have an increasingly difficult time finding the words I want to say. I know they're in my brain, but it's getting increasingly challenging to translate from pictures to speech. I've always been good at speaking and using an enormous vocabulary, so I'm concerned that I'm having such a hard time now. I wonder if my difficulty understanding others' speech is related to my own difficulty speaking.

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 18:07      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonwyyn___________I also have problems with speach or being able to process it. Like you I do well on hearing tests. I really disloke mp3s because much of the music is thrown away in the compression scheme, I want to here the brushes on the drums and the slight hiss during a reed solo, and fretting mistakes, but don't put speach in there I won't be able to discern it or decipher it.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 18:30      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
Rhonwyyn___________I also have problems with speach or being able to process it. Like you I do well on hearing tests. I really disloke mp3s because much of the music is thrown away in the compression scheme, I want to here the brushes on the drums and the slight hiss during a reed solo, and fretting mistakes, but don't put speach in there I won't be able to discern it or decipher it.

I find those problems at 128kbps, but at 192, my ability to discern mp3 vs cd goes away, for that reason I try and keep my MP3s at that rate or better. They take up a bit more space, but it helps.

As for Rhon, I'm sorry, I have no idea. My hearing issues I *know* are entirely mental.. I have issues focussing on what I'm supposed to be listening to, and I tune things out.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 19:26      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Are you sure the problem is your ears and not just the way your brain processes speech? Audio processing disorders are recognized and often treated as learning disabilities. Clearly you're compensating nicely but that might be an avenue worth exploring.

I was going to say the same thing. It could be an understanding problem, rather than a hearing problem. In any case, it's something that the audiologist (I didn't even know that those existed!) should be able to determine.
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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 19:31      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If it's an understanding problem--fault with the brain, not my ears--who would I go to for help? And might my symptoms be signs of a larger problem? That's what worries me most... especially since my speech has been deteriorating.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 19:51      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If they suspected it was a problem with your brain, they'd probably refer you to a neurologist. It could also be that you're only perceiving your speech (maybe hearing, too, if you've never heard speech any differently) as being problematic, when in reality it is not.

While this theoretically could be part of a larger problem, that isn't all that common and you don't seem to show any of the patterns. IANAN, but I think that those conditions usually present with a sudden decline in functionality and with other neurological problems.

Also, the fact that you've had this "for as long as you can remember" is reassuring.

Is it getting worse (you mentioned "deteriorating")?

Anyway, I'd bring up the concerns you expressed on this thread with the audiologist. Doctors usually know a good deal about conditions outside of their specialties that are related to them.

True story: I once went to a neurologist for chronic headaches which would later be diagnosed as migraines (technically, they don't fit into any category of headache - they're really just one sided pulsatile headaches). I walked out with two prescriptions: One was for an MRI (which came out normal, but any sort of chronic headache that does not fit into a classical pattern apparently demands an MRI)... and the other was for a skin condition called pytriasis rosea [Smile] .

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2006 20:12      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The hearing thing has persisted for as long as I can remember. It's only been within the last year that I've noticed a decline in my verbal skills. I have a really difficult time recalling words I've known all my life. I stumble over pronunciations, too. It's frustrating because I know the word is in my brain; I just can't call it forward.

I did some research tonight on the side effects of Wellbutrin, the only medication I'm taking with any regularity. 4% of the sample showed memory decline as a side effect of the medication. I doubt I'm in that 4%, but it's still something to consider, I guess. I really hope it isn't Wellbutrin's fault because I'm doing really well on this med.

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
David Rogers
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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2006 08:32      Profile for David Rogers     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonwyyn,

I hope that you can find a solution. I have been ignoring my own hearing problems and they seem to be gradually getting worse.

I've noticed a similar problem myself in the last decade. I can hear people talking, but I can't make out the words in a number of situations. I have always thought that I suffered some sort of hearing loss while I was in the Marines, either from the jet engines I worked around for 6 years. I always took the appropriate precautions when working on the flightline and the regular hearing tests always came out fine, no record of hearing loss. Sometime while I was in the Marines I noticed that I was missing out on whole parts of conversations because they just seemed to disappear into the ambient noise. If I am close to and facing those I am talking to I have no problems, but if they are more than a few feet away, or not facing me, my ability to make out what they are saying drops off, though I can still hear them talking. I have also noticed that certain types of ambient noise can cause problems. For a few years I lived in an apartment with no central air and if I had a fan on in the bedroom I couln't make out the telephone or alarm clock. It was like the low frequency noise from the fan was sucking up all the other sounds in the room. I have kind of played the ostrich where this is concerned and tried to ignore the whole problem, but I guess I really should get my doctors advice on it.

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David Rogers

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2006 15:00      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't really know what to say here...

I personally have had my own hearing tested and barring a normal level of age/modern living degeneration my hearing was rated as above average or better - yet I still have great difficulty discerning conversation if there is any "real" level of background noise... like in a bar, or where children are playing, etc. and have done since my 20s. No audioigist or other specialist has been able to explain this to me beyond the fact that "some people find this problematic" and "it tends to get worse with age" and "ability to hear seems to not be the only factor in this"

My father is really quite deaf to a wide range of tones due to a variety of reasons that I won't bore you all with - none of which apply to me currently...

Can't say I've noticed any "deterioration" in my speaking ability though.

My problem is reading... same sort of thing as your hearing... I can see the words clearly enough but where as I could read whole pages in a couple of glances I now find myself reading it like a 9 yr old... word by word... Experience with a pre teen Irlen Syndrome sufferer (one of Footsie's daughters) led me to seek special help for this and apparently recent research shows that over 40s can suffer Irlen type symptoms as an age onset problem... specially coloured lenses helped no end... I now have some very blue reading lenses which I use if I want to read more than a couple of magazine pages...

Have you been checked for any level of tinitus? Normally this is evidenced by obvious "ringing" or "whistling" in the ears... but it can, I believe, have lower level (harder to detect) symptoms...

Whatever it is you should definitely seek further clarification... I know this stuff doesn't come cheap if you are not in the UK "free" healthcare system but it could be something easy to treat... or (God forbid) a sign of something more serious. Without wanting to frighten anyone - if it is something more serious the sooner it is diagnosed the better. Early treatment can make most things easier to cure...

[Frown]

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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-ct-
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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2006 15:11      Profile for -ct-   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
for the last 15+ years i've had a very mild case of tinnunitis (sp?)

then, back in oct when i got hit, it's only been far far worse
i don't sleep much at night, and i'll NEVER know silence again for the rest of my farkin' life [Mad]

a few weeks ago i had a "dream"
in this dream there were a thousand screaming babies, playing a thousand screaming heavymetal guitar solos
i woke up with THE WORST migrane i have /ever/ had
both eyes pulsing, no balance, pain everywhere and i puked in and nearly missing the tub

and what can i do about it (or yours)?

nothing.
make me want to cry for such a loss

[thumbsdown]

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iankantian
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Icon 4 posted January 19, 2006 12:04      Profile for iankantian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rohnwyyn,

If I saw the patterns that you’re concerned in our practice about I'd refer you to an audiologist and a neurologist so you can have the best possible information. I have noticed that I have more sentence/articulation difficulty now than when I was ten years younger. If people around me notice it as well or I begin to have worries I’ll schedule an appointment with a neurologist or speech pathologist just to be informed. Luckily people contribute my disarticulations to be part of my general goofiness. To be honest I’m pretty upset about your family having a problem with using Close Captioning. Some pretty unflattering historical analogies come to mind and I won’t print them here. Just tell them that regular TV now has Special Features like DVD’s and they might think it’s cool.

David Rogers,

The hospital corpsman who screen your hearing (or do anything else medical) will not point out that they are harming you or that you need fixing. “Lieutenant, I have dark holes in my teeth that hurt,” -- “MM2, those are ‘crevasses’ and don’t worry about it.” -- “I’ve got varicose veins bulging out of my legs!” -- “Those are ‘spider blemishes’ chief and here’s a special magic sock that will make it better” -- “I’m going deaf, Commander!” – “No you’re not, Lance Corporal, you are wearing proper hearing protection. Therefore you cannot possibly be going deaf…” If it bleeds they will do well to assess and repair. Anything else has no bearing on their sphere of competence. Get a private practitioner to test your hearing, some places will do it for free.

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Protect your hearing, there is no substitute for the real thing.

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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2006 12:23      Profile for SilverBlade   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually Rhonwyyn, I seem to suffer a bit of that as well. Milder though, but considering my age it is a tad worrying.

What I mean is that I notice that my memory is deteriorating, I constantly forget things and am pretty absent-minded. Plus, I am developing a bit of a stutter where I trip over my own words. I used to be so articulate and able to make fantastic speeches, now it is full of "ums" and "uhs"...

Plus, I often cannot make out what people say. I can hear what they say, and I have some of the best hearing in my class. That is, when they did that hearing test where they just give out a tone of different frequencies I can pick out even the highest one. However, when people speak to me it just doesn't not register.

Maybe I just need more brain-food. Gimme more kippers!

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Aditu
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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2006 12:47      Profile for Aditu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have problems with background noise myself. I haven't had a hearing test. I spoke to my doctor, but insurance wouldn't cover the referral at the time. He said it sounded like I was hearing everything as if it was equal. That background noise wasn't in the background for me and was getting in the way. He said without tests it was hard to tell why.
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iankantian
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Icon 4 posted January 19, 2006 13:00      Profile for iankantian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
-ct-

Sounds almost like your had a bout of Meniere's Disease that night. In some cases immediate medical attention can help minimize damage to your inner ear so you should consider that an emergency and call your local hospital and get into contact with the Ear Nose and Throat or Head and Neck Surgery immediately. You've lost a few days already and this can only work as soon as possible!

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Protect your hearing, there is no substitute for the real thing.

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magefile
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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2006 13:14      Profile for magefile     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I could be wrong, but I thought pure-tone tests were pretty much discredited as an all-round audiotest? That for all but the cheapest and most assembly-line like situations, a screening without background noise and word recognition is an incomplete screening? Especially when fluid is suspected, I would think that would be the case.

Regardless, a word of hope on the closed captioning front. I don't know how long you've been using captions, Rhonnie, but people tend to get used to them eventually. My family did a few years after I finally figured out how to turn them on, and my roommate and our movie buddy are beginning to get used to them now. In fact, my experience has been that when hearies are forced to watch TV with captions, they often end up preferring them (The Daily Show notwithstanding ... my god, that show has awful captions).

In some cases it's even a conversation starter - the girl I'm currently flirting with introduced herself when she saw me watching captioned TV because she signs fluently. I don't, but it did serve as an interesting way to meet someone!

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2006 17:12      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have had similar problems Rhonnie. I lost about 30% of my hearing by the time I was 18. Some from the annual ear infections, some from playing in bands and the last came from construction.

But while my range of hearing is limited, my ability to seperate sounds is absolutely abysmal. Which makes bars and parties difficult places to have a conversation.

As far as yourvocabulary. I have a feeling that it may be more of a state of mind thing than related to you hearing. I know that under moments of extreme stress I cannot seem to get the words out of my mouth, or off my fingers, for that matter. But when I am feeling relaxed I am a very capable speaker.

So, out of curiosity, are you going through any major changes in your life?

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Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

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