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People with normal hearing – especially parents, spouses and friends of those with hearing loss – are often eager to better understand what hearing loss sounds like. While a blindfold worn around the house for an afternoon might help someone learn what it’s like to live without vision, hearing loss comes in varying degrees and forms. Simply blocking out all sound won’t provide the right information. To really understand the complex nature of hearing loss, you have to experience the loss of both volume as well as specific sounds.

Using computer simulation algorithms, we’ve put together a group of audio files that simulate what someone with sensorineural hearing loss is able to hear in specific contexts. The sound files are grouped by type, from conversations in different contexts – background noise; restaurant; traffic – to various kinds of music. For each sound clip, you can listen to what it sounds like with “normal” hearing, as well as mild and moderate hearing loss. Here’s the hearing loss simulator

Hearing Loss

Normal

graph - normal hearing

Mild

graph - mild hearing

Moderate

graph - moderate hearing

Speech

Single speaker
Dialog two speaker
Announcement in station
In a restaurant

Environmental

In the mountains
Birds singing
Frogs
Ducks
Industry
In traffic

Music

Piano
Clarinette
Classical: Beethoven
Children singing
Pop

Background Noise

Telephone

About the Hearing Loss Simulator

Which sounds, and how much of each sound a person with hearing loss misses, depends on the degree of loss. For the person who still has some hearing and is listening to speech, the missing sounds are often the consonants P, K, F, H, T, and S, and the Sh sounds. Higher voices and higher-pitched sounds are harder to hear, as well, and it’s more difficult to hear anything when there’s background noise involved. So, unlike the blindfold experiment, wearing earplugs or noise-cancelling

headphones isn’t a good way for a hearing person to experience hearing loss. If you have hearing loss, consider sharing this this page to your friends and family. It may finally show them why you need them to look at you the next time they’re asking “SO HOW ARE YOU?” at a busy restaurant.

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1371 Neilson Road, Suite 317A
Scarborough, Ontario, M1B 4Z8
Phone: (416) 286-9800

Ajax

601 Harwood Ave. South, Unit 106
Ajax, ON, L1S 2J5
Phone: (905) 428-7555

Whitby

220 Dundas Street West, Suite 405
Whitby, ON L1N 8M7
Phone: (905) 666-8000

Bowmanville

222 King St E, Suite 1103A
Bowmanville, ON L1C 1P6
Phone: (905) 623-1994

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300 King Ave. East
Newcastle, ON, L1B 1J8
Phone: (905) 987-5252

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257 Division St. Cobourg, ON
K9A 3P9
Phone: (905) 373-1470