In All My Years

Something piqued my curiosity the other day. I was reading about hearing loss/deafness, and how for some positions you need to either have no hearing loss or just enough to fall under the mild hearing loss category. It’s kind of illegal, that they do that, but seeing as how they’re in a completely different field than I’d be looking at it’s inconsequential to me.

Anyways, as the title suggests, in all my years here, I’ve had some number of audiograms. I was genuinely curious to see where exactly I fell in the scheme of things. I mean, I got my first audiogram (and first set of hearing aids) done when I was 5 and roughly every 4 or 5 years after, so I have just a couple here to look at. And, seeing as how I’ve been getting them for as long as I could remember, one to the next looked damned near identical. It’s like standard so you don’t bother to read it. Kind of like a bill, you get the day it’s due but don’t bother to read what everything is.

Back in 1991, my SRT (Speech Recognition Threshold) was listed at 45 dB for both my left and right ears. Now, the least loss was 30 dB for my right ear with it increasing up to 60 dB. My left ear had the, at the lower range for loss at 40 dB and the most at 65 dB. Now, on this chart they also had listed my “PB at dB” which is basically the percentage of times that I could make out PB (Phonetically Balanced monosyllabic) words and at the pressure required. In my right ear, it was 80% at 80 dB, my left was worse with it being 68% at 80 dB. But, you have to remember that at this time I had gone through my formative years for language acquisition unable to hear or understand what was being said and it’s kind of hard to know words without actually knowing them.

So, in one of my later ones, my right ear had the least loss again, at 40 dB heading up to 70 dB. My left ear started at 45 dB and ended up at 65 dB. My SRT was now at 65 dB for my left and 60 dB for my right, with my MCL (Most Comfortable Level) at 100 dB and 95 dB, for my left and right ears, respectively. But, my word discrimination improved at this one! Granted, that was probably the results of speech therapy and actually hearing people talk. But it stood at a 92% for both ears, and since it’s not listed, I’m going to assume that it’d be at 65 & 60 dB, since why would they try it where I couldn’t hear it? Now, for my MCL being so high, remember that my baseline is starting so high. 55 dB from my lowest is kind of what normal every day conversation is, which is comfortable for most people.

Now, consider this, at 70 dB, I need something to be 10,000,000 times louder to be able to hear it than most people. You know, I try to ignore it, but it’s there. It really is genuinely irritating when I get bitched at for not looking into someone’s eyes whilst talking to them, or when people are saying something to me when they’re facing away from me. If I can’t hear you and go “huh?”, I don’t like it when it just gets blow off with a scoff or a “never mind”, because, you know, it’s not my fault, and it does help to see your lips. Most people, and I would say most being about 90%-95% of them, are accepting of this and understanding, just like I’m receptive to the fact that if I do it too often, it gets annoying. The others I can’t really do anything about so I just ignore them. The answers to the most common questions I get, and no, I don’t mind answering them; “yes, they are”, “I’ve always been that way” “not really” “I can ALMOST make out words”, “no”, and lastly, “don’t try”.

Though, I do have to wonder, am I a heavy or light sleeper? Some people can get stirred awake by a mouse farting 800 yards away. I’ll never know, since if someone is trying to wake me by noise, they’re not going to be quiet about it. My last comment is this. Years back, Bjorn, his dad, my uncle, and I were all up at the farm for deer hunting. I don’t quite remember where Terry slept, but I think it was upstairs and I was downstairs on the opposite side of the house. With my aids out I was able to make him out just fine.

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  1. #1 by Chadwick on November 23, 2009 - 8:25 AM

    You know, that wandered a little, and I’m not entirely sure if you got where you intended to go (though I think you did). But it was a nice piece anyway.

    I actually had no idea you still had trouble hearing this stuff. Of course, I usually forget you have the hearing aids, too (and now I’m imagining you with an ear full of AIDS), and even after a couple years sitting to your right, I’m consistently surprised when I notice them.

    • #2 by Phillip on November 23, 2009 - 10:00 AM

      I think I did. It was supposed to come out as it being worse than I originally thought. Which it really was. I always thought that it was around 40 dB or so, just at the end/beginning of a different group. And that segued into one thing which jumped into another.

      But yeah, certain frequencies I really cannot hear at all. There was one day where a pot was on teh stove with water boiling away and it was making a “squeeeeeeeeeee-pip” sound (apparently) and I couldn’t hear it to save my life.

      And, my aids have this stupid “feature” where they’ll automatically lower the amplification of the sounds if it reaches a certain point. But it lowers the sound of EVERYTHING, so if there’s a crowd, it’s hard enough to make out what people are saying. Then they lower the volume and it makes it quite a bit harder. It even does that when I find a song I like on the radio too. I’ll turn it up and my aids’ll go “nuh uh!” and lower themselves. So I’ll turn the volume down on the radio and after 10 minutes or so the aids’ll go right back to where they were supposed to.

      There is an advantage though, I can turn them off and have fitted ear-plugs so I REALLY can’t hear anything. That I used to do all the time when I was heading upnorth and didn’t want to stay up the entire trip.

      • #3 by Chadwick on November 23, 2009 - 11:15 AM

        I bet that’s wonderful in the Union some days.

        • #4 by Joshua on November 23, 2009 - 12:12 PM

          Except if/when Phil tries to join in Chadowrun or any of the other activities. There’s enough noise at Teh Table to deafen even full-hearing people to the matter at hand.

          • #5 by Phillip on November 23, 2009 - 2:20 PM

            Some days, around lunch time, it gets really horrendous. If my memory serves me right, a large hall (which I consider the Union to be), can reach 100-115 dB, just with people walking through and talking. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was pretty high.

        • #6 by Phillip on November 23, 2009 - 2:06 PM

          Kind of a trade off really. It’s nice that I don’t really have to listen to everyone. But not so in the way that if I want to, I can’t.

          This rather reminds me of a concert I went to. I don’t remember who it was, but the crowds were going nuts and hit the limit thing. The performer also hit the limit thing. The guy standing next to me and the performer were exactly the same volume wise, so muted. That’s actually part of the reason I like Uihlein Hall. It’s loud enough for me to hear but not too loud.

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