Getting round poor hearing problems

Hi, I’m not sure if the Audacity forum is the right place for this question but being the sound experts on the Net perhaps someone could possibly help please ?

I’ve not the best of hearing due to a sporting accident years ago, basic hearing aids unfortunately being of no help at all, so it’s always been necessary to have sub-titles when viewing dvds on my pc if they’re even available which is rare. The core problem is I can’t distinguish much pitch at all sounds always coming across very muffled, so to get round this problem I first bought some powerful speakers that helped a bit but not only were too loud for others nearby, most sounds still remained muffled as well. Unfortunately I’m definitely not a techie nevertheless I would very much appreciate some advice as to what additional options if any are or are not available for poor hearing now that I’ve just bought a laptop Windows 7 64bit.

I’ve already been into “Sounds” - “Enhancements” and set “Pitch Shift” to minus 4 which has improved things quite a lot but ideally, though I’m guessing, if this scale were available up to say minus 10 I’m pretty sure I could hear just about everything. This is because I once took a commercial company’s hearing aid test and after about half an hour I was able to hear an ordinary conversation about 15 to 20 feet away, the only problem was it would have cost about £2500 so a non-starter unfortunately.

As I said I’m not a techie but if anyone has any suggestions on what options might be worth trying anywhere next I’d be very grateful.

Many thanks :slight_smile:

Audacity doesn’t process sounds in real time. So, you can enhance/alter MP3s or WAV files, but Audacity is not going to help with DVDs, the TV, or CDs.

If your soundcard has any “enhancements”, it may have an equalizer. An equalizer is basically a fancy tone control, which allows you to boost/cut various frequency (pitch) bands. Boosting the higher frequencies and mid-high frequencies will help with intelligibility (by boosting the “T” and “S” sounds. You say sounds are muffled, and this loss of higher pitches is common with hearing loss. Usually, you don’t completely loose the highs, but they are greatly diminished. An equalizer control panel looks something like [u]this[/u]. You can also get a [u]hardware equalizer[/u] for your hi-fi system.

If you are not already using headphones, you might try a pair. An “average” pair of headphones can go louder than the average pair of speakers (and the loudness and sound adjustments won’t bother anyone else). You can also get a separate headphone amplifier. The headphone output on some computers is limited to prevent hearing damage. But in your case, you need the loudness.

You can get “generic” hearing aids ([u]example[/u]). It’s not going to be as good as one that’s selected & adjusted for your specific condition with the help of your audiologist, but it might be worth a try. I’ve seen TV informercials for cheaper ones.