What does a hearing loss sound like?

The examples given here are simulations and should only be used as such. They are designed to provoke thought, and raise questions about the importance of the listening environment in schools.

Teacher using a radio aid in a classroom to help communication with deaf children.

Hearing, listening and understanding

Hearing, listening and understanding are sophisticated processes that are determined by a complex interaction between the physical properties of the ear as well as attention, memory and auditory processing. The term auditory processing is used to describe what happens when your brain recognises and interprets the sounds heard so that it becomes meaningful information.

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Listen to high frequency hearing loss simulations

High frequency hearing loss, means that it is more difficult to hear sounds of a higher frequency. In speech 'f', 's' and 'th' are considered high frequency sounds so will be more difficult for a child to hear if they have a high frequency hearing loss. These simulations are examples of how a child with a high frequency hearing loss might hear in classrooms with acoustics of different standards.

Background information

These simulations have been prepared by the National Deaf Children's Society, Hear2Learn and Essex County Council as part of a research project into acoustics.

Building Bulletin 93
Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) sets out the minimum acoustic standards for school buildings required by the Government.  

Standard classroom simulation

This room has received sound treatment that brings the acoustics in the classroom into line with Building Bulletin 93.

Sound treated classroom simulation

This room has received sound treatment that improves the classroom beyond what is required by Building Bulletin 93 and into line with the acoustic standards recommended by the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf for rooms primarily used by deaf children. 

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Listen to simulations for different levels of hearing loss

These simulations replicate different levels of hearing, from no loss to severe loss:

  • Watch the Flintstones – House Research Institute has created a video that demonstrates different levels of hearing loss using the popular children's cartoon.
  • HearLoss – A downloadable program made by University College London that can be used to demonstrate the effects of hearing loss

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