Understanding Hearing Loss

Katy Mitchell | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Simulating a Hearing Loss

A hearing loss will make is difficult to hear the sounds of speech. The degree of difficulty will depend on the degree of hearing loss. For mild, moderate and severe losses, speech will sound much quieter and muffled.  A child with a profound loss would not be able to access any speech sounds without amplification.

Listening will be hard work and tiring. A child’s auditory neurological network is not fully developed so they are unable to make sense of misheard words in the same way as adults (Cole and Flexer 2011). They do not have the knowledge of language to understand unclear speech. Listening in noisy environments will be even more challenging.

Speech is made up of sounds of different frequencies and all sounds need to be heard clearly to make sense of the spoken word. A hearing loss results in speech that is not only quieter but unclear, because low frequency vowel sounds may be easier to hear than quiet high frequency consonants, such as f,s,th.

Hearing Loss Simulation

The following hearing loss simulation illustrates how speech intelligibility is affected particularly when listening in noise.  An adult with good language skills may be able to continue to follow the topic of conversation when speech is not as clear. For a child who had a limited vocabulary this will not be possible.

This hearing loss simulation features characters from the Flintstones.



Cole, E. B., & Flexer, C. (2011) Children with hearing loss, developing listening and talking. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

Hearing Health Care Centre, Hearing Loss Simulation [On line] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbBZjT7nuoA [Accessed 13th February 2021]