Many of my patients tell me that when they are experiencing difficulty
hearing, they are often told to “turn up their hearing aids.” Let me try
to explain why this is not helpful.
First, a bit of anatomy. Some people have a conductive loss which means
sound is blocked from entering their ears properly. The blockage is in
their ear canal, at the eardrum or in the middle ear space where the tiny
little bones vibrate. For them, turning up their hearing aids is often a
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with hearing loss have a
sensorineural hearing loss which means they have damage in the inner ear
or auditory nerve. Inside the inner ear (cochlea) there are tiny little
haircells which are actually nerve cells. Once the haircells are damaged
there is no way to repair or restore them. Those nerve impulses are lost
forever. This damage in the cochlea distorts sound. So for many hearing
impaired people it sounds like everyone else is mumbling. Even worse,
people can sound like “Daffy Duck.” If you sound like Daffy Duck to your
significant other, a louder Daffy Duck is not going to help!