A new test has been developed for detecting hidden hearing loss. Hidden hearing loss cannot be diagnosed traditionally as standard hearing tests show normal or near-normal results. Many patients are told their hearing is fine, and yet their hearing quality is less than perfect. Leslie R. Bernstein who conducted the study explained, “We now have a validated technique to identify ‘hidden’ hearing deficits that would likely go undetected with traditional audiograms.”
The recently developed hearing test measures one’s ability to detect across-ears (binaural) changes in sounds presented at the loudness level of regular talking.
The researchers studied 31 adults with normal to near-normal audiograms. The study demonstrated that participants who show normal to near-normal hearing results on traditional hearings tests may exhibit hearing deficiencies when tested for binaural processing – the ability to process multiple sounds in loud settings.
Co-study leader Constantine Trahiotis added, “Our study shows that our novel binaural hearing test can help early identify vulnerable populations of listeners, and perhaps help determine when critical interventions are warranted.”
The study suggests that hearing loss may be much more widespread than previously believed. Trahiotis added, “Our research team has been working hard to define what normal human hearing really is. Greater understanding of normal hearing and the early detection of any underlying slight hearing deficits in supposed ‘normal’ listeners could help practitioners have a better chance of identifying ways to slow the progression of debilitating hearing loss in one’s lifetime, and even possibly finding future ways to restore it.”