How good is your hearing?

Courtesy of a link at HMS Defiant, I came across this hearing test. The results came as a shock to me.  I know I have hearing damage as the result of too many years of unprotected exposure to gunfire;  and, of course, my hearing has deteriorated with age.  Even so, this has decided me to get a formal hearing test, and maybe look into some sort of auditory assistance before too long.

Try it for yourself.  It’s a bit long-winded, but the test itself (in the middle of all the verbiage) may be an eye-opener (or should that be an ear-opener?).  It certainly was for me!

I fall into the bottom 40% or so on the test. Definitely room for improvement!



  1. Shooting guns without plugs, muffs AND a suppressor will damage your hearing. I got hyperacusis from shooting a 12 gauge once while wearing earplugs.

  2. Interesting. I thought that my hearing was okay, but apparently not. I got "would you speak into my good ear." My age(67) and all that gunfire has taken its toll it seems.

  3. I did recently get my hearing tested. Still doing OK, except for the higher frequencies, but I've had that hearing loss since I was a teenager. The doc says that hearing aids probably aren't worth the cost considering my current hearing response.

  4. Costco will do a thorough exam for free, and keep the results on file so you can compare year over year.

    I've been tested thru my health plan, and by costco.

    I've got some pretty specific losses, notches really, from loud music, working in a steel mill, metal shop, as a carpenter, and shooting. Certain environments are torture (like a noisy restaurant.) Constant tinnitus makes sleeping without a fan very difficult.

    The best part of the exam was the resulting chart. They can show you very specifically what phonemes you have trouble distinguishing. This can go a long way toward explaining to a spouse that you really CAN'T hear what she's saying, and you aren't just obstinate, stubborn, inconsiderate, or making it up. (when, for example, you can hear a footfall in the hallway in the middle of the night, but can't hear her ask you questions when the TV is on.) It will also explain why some sounds are so painful.

    Get checked, and protect what you have left. Barring some sort of stem cell therapy, you aren't getting back what you lose.


  5. I have hearing aids. Been wearing them for 10 years now. Some insurance plans will pay for the audiologist but not the hearing aids. Good ones are expensive.
    You will be glad you did. You will hear things you have not heard in years.

  6. In my Grandfather's words, I am deaf in one ear and I can't hear so good out of the other one.

    Forty years of working around heavy equipment, things like rock crushers and pile drivers, huge diesel engines running at full blast, shooting guns without hearing protection and listening to Heavy Metal music at full volume and forty odd concerts at this point.
    The left side is way worse than the right but when I see the results of my yearly hearing test at work every year the charts look like someone diving off a cliff.
    The worst part is the hearing loss is really bad in the frequency range that
    a lot of people talk in.

    Like the lyrics to the old Pink Floyd tune, Comfortably Numb, "Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying".
    If you aren't facing me, I can't hear you.

  7. "
    If you aren't facing me, I can't hear you."

    I can hear them, but don't understand what they are saying. I'm already training the kids to look at me when they talk. Wife is a bit harder….


  8. When our hearing was tested in schools (50-60's), my hearing range extended much farther above and below the norm. Still, I had trouble understanding conversation. Around age 20, my boss's wife pointed out that I didn't hear people unless I was facing them, and she thought I was reading lips. Turns out she was correct.

    Adding tinnitus to the problem (gunfire) is a further aggravation. I can still hear the proverbial pin drop, but speech?

  9. Between 16500Hz and 15500Hz on a good day. 13000Hz and below (way below) on bad. I *used* to have better hearing, but my tinnitus sits around 16000Hz. All day, every day. The pitch has changed over the years, going lower as I burn out what better hearing I once had, I suppose.

    The high pitch isn't the problem, though. Human vocal range is in the 1500Hz range (well, around 600 to around 3000HZ), and that is what gives me problems. Can't resolve voices in a crowd? Yep. Other people sound like they are whispering? Oh yes.

    When I was younger, I could hear the sound of a CRT television being turned on from about fifteen yards away through the wall and a closed door. It's why I went to flat panel as soon as I could afford it, the noise is no problem compared to the older sets.

  10. "Eh? Say over?"

    I tell my students that unless they are facing me and I am looking at them, there will be no communication. High pitched voices are the worst. And loud restaurants are my bane.

    Working on airplanes without hearing protection, especially bucking rivets inside the fuselage. Yes, I know, don't DO that.


  11. Too common a problem these days – and the libs say the HPA isn't really about hearing protection or about a public health problem! Like a lot of us, too many loud noises (drag racing), gunfire (hunting and plinking without protection), and other issues (barotrauma from a diving accident) have taken their toll. I also suffer from marital selective hearing loss, especially when she talks when walking away from me or when she'd in the next room. And she often has only two volume levels – mumbling, and WAY too loud. She's a brilliant lady (and I mean that literally), but boy, it's hard to get her to modulate to just a little louder than she'd talk normally.

    At least she's not from Scotland – that would be impossible to deal with! Don't get me wrong, I love a Scottish accent, but they speak so damn softly, and the accent is a bit hard to decipher at times.

    Peter, do you know the difference between the Italian mafia and the Scottish mafia?

    The Italians make you an offer you can't refuse – the Scots make you an offer you can't understand!!

    Happy New Year to all!

  12. The good thing about working with pilots: I can reply on the phone "Say again? Sorry, say again? Can you spell that phonetically?"

  13. Yup, if I'm not looking you in the face or water is running or a noisy crowd/environment don't bother talking to me. Mine's genetic and hearing aids won't help, because all hearing aids do, is turn up the volume. And for God's sake, enunciate clearly! Mumbling will get you a bunch of 'what' or me repeating back to you what I actually heard which I guarantee is not what you thought you said.

  14. Clear too oversimplified to be of real value; would suggest doing each ear independently of the other. Also noted there was no calibration for volume at which to start the test- kind of leaves it up to the user to dial up nearly any desired result.

  15. Only problem I have is a 20dB drop across 2Khz-4Khz; which kinda sucks as that pretty much covers human conversational vocal range.

  16. @judy,

    " hearing aids won't help, because all hearing aids do, is turn up the volume."

    This isn't actually true anymore. Modern hearing aids have digital signal processing, can selectively boost and cut problem frequencies, and can even frequency shift sounds into areas where you still have hearing. I'm told the freq shifting is only recommended in severe cases as there is a bit of lag and some double imaging (echo) which most users find objectionable.

    The costco set we got for my dad has a remote to select from 4 or 5 different programs, including normal quiet speech, music, restaurants, etc. Costco lets you try out the effects too, with no obligation. Everyone I've talked to says they get much better results from the modern digital aids than lesser quality ones (like from the VA.)

    Hearing problems are socially isolating, and can contribute to all sorts of issues like depression and alcoholism.

    After getting his new ears, my dad started initiating conversations again, after such a long period of withdrawal that we couldn't even remember when it started.

    Do yourself and your family a favor and try them out.


  17. I've had excellent hearing all my life until recently. The 16500 area now. I've got some mild tinnitus from a medication which I find annoying at times. I've always had an aversion to loud noises despite my love of firearms and things that go boom. I've been quite good about using hearing protection. Even when I'm using hand tools that have intense impulse noise such as driving T posts on the farm, beating on metal or even hammering I wear ear protection. When I'm running the tractor or even the lawn mower I use ear muffs. It protects my hearing obviously but I'm far less fatigued when I'm finished. I protect my ears as much as I can since once it's gone you can't get it back. Just a few days ago I was massaging a gate hinge back into place with a sledgehammer and I grabbed ear muffs when I grabbed the hammer. It was only a dozen or so whacks against a steel tube gate but it all adds up. Didn't take an extra 5 seconds to don ear muffs before I started swinging.

  18. Sadly, good modern hearing aids will strain your "rainy day fund" as bad, if not worse, than your recent travails with water heaters and sundry…. Just sayin'…. ��

  19. Despite being pretty faithful with ear muffs on the flightline I have severe high freq loss and moderate loss elsewhere. First clue was years ago when the wife was calling student names out to me so I could enter them into the computer. I confused consonants like crazy. "Fifty" and "sixty" are close, as are "duck" and "puck." That idea. Have had hearing aids ever since, but they will never be able to restore my hearing to the old normal. At the range I wear good plugs and good muffs to keep what hearing I have. If I had known then what I know now…

  20. Dan Lane: you don't kid about CRTs. It's the flyback transformer whining; when I was in school, I would get headaches when teachers would carelessly leave TVs on ("well, there's no picture on it, so it's off!" No, ma'am, it isn't). I'd turn it off and they'd get huffy ("well, I can't hear it, what's your problem?"); even at that age, I knew enough to know that "yeah, well, you're old and your hearing is declining" wasn't the correct answer.

  21. Ear pro always!
    In the early 60s there were still some ultrasonic detectors in use controlling the traffic lights in my neighborhood. When I was a kid I could hear the pulses, which sounded like rapid metallic clicks. Nobody else could hear them.
    Many years of shooting, rock concerts and working in machine shops has resulted in a significant notch in my hearing at about 4 kHz, tinnitus another notch around 10 kHz.


  22. I got Better than Average – over 14kHz – not bad for an aging fart of 51 but the sound they use is very similar to the sound from my tinnitus.

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