I didn’t think I was hard of hearing. My daughter did. I simply want to hear what I want to hear, not necessarily what others think I should be hearing . . .
Research* indicates that half of hearing loss is due to the brain getting “fuzzy” about discriminating sounds. There is some evidence that the brain can be re-trained. There are several sites which are based on neuroplasticity and retraining the brain. I figured I had nothing to lose and could prove to her I my hearing was just fine. I checked out one of several sites that claim to re-train the brain for better hearing.
The exercises I chose slowed down sounds. Then two sounds that were very alike and hard to tell apart were speeded up. I practiced discriminating between them.
I think it helped. There is a commercial on TV where I never could understand part of what they said–and after the training I could. Don’t tell my daughter. I’m waiting to see if she comments again on my hearing.
Here’s some of the research I read:
“Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, recently published the results of her dissertation work, “Reversal of Age-Related Neural Timing Delays with Training,” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, carried out at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, focused on the effects of auditory training on the brain’s ability to rapidly process sound. Essentially, auditory training involves teaching the brain to listen. For those with unimpeded hearing, this normally occurs early in life and is part of a young child’s rearing. Later in life, or for those who require additional support, auditory training is usually supervised by an audiologist or speech-language pathologist and involves exposure to stimuli and coaching to help individuals identify and distinguish sounds”.
“Dr. Anderson’s research included 67 adults between the ages of 55 and 70. They completed in-home computerized training for 40 hours over eight weeks. The training involved discriminating between consonant-vowel syllables that were initially spoken slowly with exaggerated enunciation. As they improved, the syllables were compressed in time and were more difficult to distinguish. In addition, participants received memory training that focused attention on the syllables as they were presented in words, sentences and stories. “For most of my participants, the training was quite a positive experience,” Anderson said. “Many of them reported that they enjoyed the challenge and that they noticed the benefits of hearing better in social activities. In fact, I had no difficulty recruiting participants because they encouraged their friends to come in for the study. I was impressed with their high motivation to do activities that might offset the effects of aging.”’
“After training, the study participants had better scores on tests of speech-in-noise perception, memory and speed of processing—demonstrating their improved ability to decipher speech in challenging environments. They also had faster neural timing in the auditory brainstem, indicating that their brain’s processing speed was partially restored to typical timing in young adults. Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University and Anderson’s research partner, commented on the training’s effectiveness.”
“After training, the participants’ neural timing did not become equivalent to that of a young adult…but they were, however, able to successfully hear, remember, and understand sentences in noisy background listening conditions—conditions that prior to training, rendered understanding of what had been said impossible,” Kraus said. In fact, participants that repeated behavioral and electrophysiological tests post training understood about 20% more words and could process about 15% more cognitive items on a timed test, and showed a 50% increase in neural timing. Participants that received no training showed no improvements in any area of their hearing and processing capabilities.”
https://bsos.umd.edu/messaging/Improving-Human-Condition-PSYC University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Here’s another study from The National Institute of Health