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Q. Why am I not able to hear clearly without hearing aid though my hearing is within range?

Answered by
Dr. Satyabrata Panigrahi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on May 16, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am a man in my early twenties that started using hearing aids about a year ago. I am very happy with this, it has really changed my life. Just recently I started reading up a bit more and now I feel very confused and weird about it all. The thing is, I was told I had a mild mid-frequency hearing loss. When I actually look at my audiometry test it shows that as well, but my hearing is barely within the range of being considered a hearing loss. Reading around I found out that most people with such a mild loss can mostly hear fine and do not need hearing aids.

When I read about what my hearing loss is supposed to be like, I do not relate. I relate way more to the explanations of what moderate hearing loss sounds and feel like. And hearing aids help me a lot. When I do not wear my hearing aids it sounds to me like listening to people talking through a door. I rely a lot on lip-reading if I cannot wear my hearing aids, phone conversations were almost impossible before I got them. I just cannot make my hearing loss make sense with my actual experience with hearing. So I have been wondering what causes me to feel like I hear so bad when my hearing is just slightly below the normal range? I should say that I have tinnitus as well, sometimes quite a lot, so that maybe factors into it too. Recently I began to wonder whether the reason I hear so much worse compared to other people with my level of hearing loss? Is that I have ADHD and PTSD which makes it so hard to focus?

Do you think this is a possibility? Or could it simply be that I handle my hearing loss worse than others? I just do not understand why I experience hearing speech as so difficult and why I am so dependent on hearing aids when my hearing loss is technically very mild?

Dr. Satyabrata Panigrahi

Audiology Speech Therapist


Welcome to

Let me tell you a statement which explains it perfectly. The ear receives the sound but interpretation of sound happens at the brain. So many a times with mild hearing loss speech perception is low moreover you have tinnitus too.

I hope you have fitted with digital programmable (computerized programmable) hearing aids. If yes, it amplifies exactly the same as required in each frequency. No need to worry about it. By the way avoid caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, alcohol) and avoid noisy situations as much as possible.

Puretone is used in the test in which you got the result mild mid-frequency hearing loss (pure tone audiometry). But in day to day life you are not listening to pure tones right? It is speech so pure tone audiometry and speech audiometry should be done and correlated, if that would have been done then you must have a clear picture of your problem. My honest suggestion is to use the hearing aids, so as not to worsen the condition. If you stop using it that may cause further deterioration.

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