I had been looking for resources that show those with normal hearing what it’s like to hear with different levels of hearing loss, hearing aids and cochlear implants. I had two resources in an old blog post and found three more today, so I’m combining them in this post.
As I come across more resources, I’ll add them. The bottom half of this post has an explanation on what it’s like for me to hear.
Hearing loss demos demonstrates what various degrees of hearing loss sound like. It has a variety of sound clips (singing, birds, telephone, musical instruments, etc.) and how they sound to someone with normal hearing, mild to moderate hearing loss and moderate to severe hearing loss.
What it sounds like demonstrates what a simple sentence sounds with a hearing aid, cochlear implant hook up day, a few days later and two weeks later. To me, “normal” sounds best — full, strong sound. Hearing aids sounds softer. Beeps and blips sounds like … beeps and blips. Interesting, the “quacky voice” sounds better than the “clearer” voice.
This PowerPoint file is a simulation of what a cochlear implant sounds like. Be sure to play the presentation to see it work.
The following clever video from “The Flintstones” changes the sound to show you how someone with normal hearing, mild hearing loss and moderate hearing loss hears the show. (Source: wunderlife)
This “Cochlear implant: simulation on speech and music” video is a simulation of what users of a cochlear implant hear for speech and music. (Source: wunderlife)
What it’s like for me to hear
I was born profoundly deaf, started wearing hearing aids at age 1, attended roughly 10 years of speech therapy and received a cochlear implant in my early 30s. I’ve always been able to recognize human voices. Most of the time, I could tell you if it was a man, woman or child. But I could not translate the speech into understandable English.
It’s like this image.
The following questions don’t apply if you’re fluent in the language shown in the image.
- Can you tell what the image is? If yes, that’s like my ability to figure out I’m hearing someone talking as opposed to animal and other sounds.
- Can you tell what language it is? If so, that’s like my ability to figure out if it’s a man, woman or child talking.
- Can you figure out a few of the words? If yes, that’s like my ability to recognize words — people saying my name or a common word like “Hello.”
- Can you translate the paragraph and memorize it? If yes, add music and it’s like my learning the lyrics to a song and being able to follow it.
This applies to both hearing aids and the cochlear implant. The only difference is that I pick up more sounds and from further away with the cochlear implant. However, it didn’t increase (not noticeable anyway) my ability to translate human speech into English.