Typically, a diagnosis of normal hearing is great news! But, for some patients they continue to perceive hearing as anything but normal. These patients often report difficulty hearing in noise, yet their hearing evaluation suggests “normal hearing.” How can this happen? 

• A typical hearing evaluation examines a patient’s ability to hear in quiet. This ability to detect soft sounds in quiet, does not show the full picture of that patient’s ability to process sound in noisy environments. Speech in noise testing is critical to further assess a patient’s true processing abilities. 

• These patients may have a history of noise exposure. Research suggests that previous noise exposure (even as a child) can cause damage to the sensory cells of hearing. This initially shows up as difficulty hearing in noise. 

• Counseling is key! The audiologists at Alexandria Hearing Centers can provide communication strategies to improve hearing in complex environments. 

• Some patients with hidden hearing loss may benefit from the careful use of hearing aids. These devices can provide a boost in the speech over noise. 

• Unfortunately, patients with “normal” hearing evaluations but perceived hearing difficulties are often turned away. Nothing is more invalidating. While testing cannot yet completely detect sub-neural hearing loss, we know it is real and that it impacts our patient’s. 

Doctors: Ann Parro, Au.D., Gia Santivasi, Au.D., Emalee Danner, Au.D. Walker Office: 6355 Walker Lane #411 Alexandria VA 22310 (p)703-922-4262 (f)703-921-1056 Sherwood Office: 2616 Sherwood Hall Lane #408 Alexandra VA 22306 (p)703-780-8929 (f)703-780-7019