New Audiogram

Last week my audiologist adjusted the settings on my hearing aids. I had reached the point where I didn’t want to wear them at work because it was too painful to hear. Environmental sounds were so magnified that I almost jumped out of my skin, yet speech remained barely audible. In the Library, the “clunk” of books, CD cases, and DVD cases landing on book carts and tabletops drowned out all speech. A coworker’s lingering cough EXPLODED in my ears all day for weeks. Crying babies made me rip my hearing aids out! Yes, I looked nutty reacting to sounds that normal hearing people swore were soft!

I was experiencing the wonder known as “recruitment,” explained here by the very knowledgeable Neil Bauman, Ph.D. Recruitment goes hand in hand with a sensorineural hearing loss. The more severe the hearing loss, the worse the recruitment. I’ve been aware of my recruitment for a couple of decades, but the new level of discomfort was unbearable. My wise audiologist decided to test my hearing before adjusting my aids, and discovered that one ear has changed SIGNIFICANTLY; I can no longer hear any high frequencies in my left ear.

If you wear hearing aids and sounds are becoming painful, please make an appointment to see your audiologist right away.



  1. Sarah Said:

    Hi Cindy,
    What did the audiologist do for your left ear? Are you able to wear a hearing aid at all in that ear?
    I have read about recruitment myself because I struggle with handling the “vibrations” and hums from the fans, air filters, and electric heaters that make my coworkers comfortable but make me uneasy. These things never bothered me before wearing hearing aids. I’m still hoping I will adjust to them. I don’t know if I have recruitment or just misophonia (dislike of sounds).
    It’s so frustrating when sounds you don’t want to hear are magnified and the speech you need to hear remains difficult to distinguish.
    Keep us updated on how the change in your hearing aid settings works out for you.

  2. Kim Said:

    Hi Cindy,
    That’s part of the problem why they can’t amplify enough for me. It’s not fans that bother me, but speech itself if they amplify the high tones to the level where I would be hearing. They COULD still amplify some areas, but you know there’s always bleed into other frequency areas where you hear better and the more deaf you become they less comfortable you get with noise I think. Also over time, I personally think our ears just get less flexible. I was so much more tolerant of noise when younger. Now it seems like it vibrates through my entire head if it’s at the wrong frequency. Which is why I spend so much time without my aids in anymore. They moved my CI eval back to Nov. 13th now.

  3. Alicia Said:

    Hi Cindy:
    I had recruitment since day one of getting hearing aids in my twenties. But nobody told me what it was. Like you, as I lost decibels it got worse and worse. For over twenty years, I spent all day popping my hearing aids in and out. I felt like a crazy woman. I bought three different pair, what a waste of money. My loss was in middle decibels so I had trouble understanding conversation all along. (Cookie bite loss). My lipreading was okay but not as good as yours.
    Finally, I passed (or flunked) the test for a Cochlear Implant. In my case, the CI ended my tinnitus and recruitment problems. The CI improved my life so much. I’m HOH but I understand speech much better now and am not in pain anymore. That in itself makes me so relieved.

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