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Overamplification - Increasing Hearing Loss

Don't Turn Up That Volume


Updated February 21, 2011

I wish I had known about the dangers of overamplification when I was younger. I kept turning my hearing aids up louder, louder, and it may have caused me to lose more hearing, more rapidly.

Today, parents and audiologists are more aware of the dangers of overamplification. It is so tempting to turn up the volume when you are struggling to hear, but giving in to that temptation can mean losing more hearing.

Overamplification - What is It

Overamplification happens when a hearing aid is turned up too loud, as stated above. While this loudness may seem to make sound clearer, over time it can actually cause more damage to hearing.

Overamplification - Other Effects

In addition to causing increased hearing loss, overamplification can also cause pain or uncomfortable feelings.

Overamplification - Avoiding It

Having a good audiologist and working closely with the audiologist is essential for avoiding overamplification.

Overamplification - Articles

A search of PubMed turned up the following articles on overamplification:
  • Prediction of deterioration in hearing due to hearing aid use, Journal of speech and hearing research, June 1991 vol. 34 number 3, pp. 661-70. - this article theorizes that because people with more severe hearing loss need sound louder, it may be necessary to accept the possibility of further hearing loss.
  • Permanent threshold shift associated with overamplification by hearing aids, Journal of speech and hearing research, April 1991 vol. 34 no. 2, pp. 403-414. - this article looked at a study of eight children who experienced threshold shift from using hearing aids at high volumes.
  • Overamplification: a well-documented case report, The Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, November 1982, Vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 382-4. - this article looked at the effects of constantly higher volumes over ten years.

About Visitors on Overamplification

This subject line really grabbed my attention as I have been suspecting that my hearing aids have actually contributed to me becoming totally deaf.

I have worn hearing aids for 33 years. 33 years ago they told me that I should wear them all the tme to keep my auditory nerve functioning! I noticed that when I had them at a listening level where I kept them set that when something would suddenly assault my ears such as my dog suddenly jumping up barking to alert that someone was at the door etc. That the noise would hit me and really hurt my ears and make me cringe. I would automatically reach up and instantly turn my aids down but then it was too late. Other times it would be something like chairs scrapping across a floor at a restuarant or a kid sreaming. Daily over the years it has taken it's toll on my hearing but people think I am nuts when I say these aids are making me deafer! Well I no longer hear any loud frequency at all. But a sudden airplane going over or a lawnmower will just drive me to turning them all the way down and then of course I can't hear anything. So then I turn my aids up and boom something would then assault me again. So YES I do believe that hearing aids will make a person deafer! Even at a decent comfortable listening level there is always that sudden burst of noise that is going to damage that nerve over and over! I totally believe it is a problem and the longer the person is in hearing aids the deafer they are going to get. But what do you do? You've got to hear to function in the hearing world, so you wear aids.
-About Visitor

Have you lost more hearing because of overamplification of your hearing aids? Tell About Deafness/HOH.

Created on March 19, 2006

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