Clever Steve of the Deafness and Hearing Aids blog has unveiled a new Audiogram Creator tool he made. I used it to create this picture for you. I hope it will help illustrate my level of hearing loss. The blue x indicates my left ear's performance and the red circle indicates my right ear's. This is the result from my first hearing test four years ago. My audiologist says my more recent audiograms haven't changed significantly.
I recently had someone look at my audiogram and he told me I was in pretty good shape for someone with hearing loss, that he could see why my hearing loss had gone undetected for some time, and that he could understand why I didn't want to use my hearing aids in certain situations. As you can see from the diagram above, I do have quite a bit of hearing in the normal range. The troublesome part for me is the high frequencies where the consonants fall.
Recently I had a relative introduce me to her friends as someone who had suddenly lost her hearing. Inwardly, I cringed a bit at that. I think it would be more accurate to say instead that I learned of my hearing loss in a sudden manner. Mainly because I was oblivious and in denial before that, but not hearing a fire alarm was something I couldn't ignore! Also I haven't lost my hearing. Not by a long shot. It's just rather reduced from what is typical for someone my age. Heh, at least that's one way to put it.
So wearing my hearing aids fixes everything, right? Wrong. The aids definitely make the world seem a LOUDER place to me. I can hear sounds clearly that are rather muted without the aids, like the way my keys jangle. But if someone doesn't have my attention when they speak, there is likely to be trouble with our communication. If someone's speaking to me in a noisy place or I'm tired or distracted, I'm liable to misunderstand. I also have trouble with people "sneaking up" on me. My husband gets irritated at how often I startle when he comes into the room. My son takes advantage of it to scare the living daylights out of me.
I have people comment that I do "so well" with my hearing loss. I usually take that to mean they're not experiencing any difficulty communicating with me. Actually because of the hearing I have, I often don't feel "deaf enough". I think people suspect I'm faking it or that I have selective hearing and are not interested in what they're saying. It's good to have my audiogram to show that yes I do have trouble hearing.