Auditory Deprivation and Hearing Loss

When we consider people who cannot hear well, we believe that all of the Hearing Professionals are incompetent (not everyone feels that way but many have told me this).  But I want to give you a story about a patient who is the quentsential example of Auditory Deprivation (someone loses his ability to understand speech communication because normal conversation is not heard anymore).

I had a gentleman (call him Steve) that came to a friend of mine in the industry who had 84% Speech Understanding in each ear and was fitted with hearing aids in both ears back in 1998.  He came to my office in 2004 asking why he “couldn’t hear in my left ear”.  His speech abilities was 40% in that left ear.  When all other medical issues were ruled out, I asked the obvious only to an Audiologist “Did you stop wearing the left hearing aid?”

“Yeah how’d you know?  I didn’t care for it after I got it and never wore again!”  I explained his hearing loss and now inability to be helped on his left side due to Auditory Deprivation.  He stormed out angry over my communication and showed up the next week with his son, the lawyer, towering over me saying that they were going to sue me.

“Why would you sue me for telling your father the truth about his hearing?”

“Dad!  You didn’t tell me the whole story!” the son apologized for the miscommunication and slinked away.

In 2006, he came back asking me to help him again but now his understanding was 32% in his left ear and 56% in his right ear.  He told me that he stopped wearing his right one as well even though he had no reason to do so.  “I want to hear 90% of what people say!”

“Sorry sir, you never will…maybe a Cochlear Implant..” he cut me off not wanting to hear the rest of the story as Paul Harvey might say.  “I will find someone to do that!” even though truth wasn’t on his side.

2007 he came back into my office with the same complaint but then noting that “No one is as good as you are” relating to my wording.  His understanding had dropped further.  After repeating the information again that nothing would now help him to understand like he used to even though we could help a little but not like he wanted, he angrily left again.

Morale of the story:  Don’t wait!  Come in to see your Audiologist to know how we can help…