Imagine Anna, a 20-year-old woman with a severe hearing loss. While in the waiting room of her audiologist's office, she notices a brochure. It asserts, “With our hearing aids, you will have a normal hearing!” As Anna reads these words, she becomes emotional as her dream has always been to hear like everyone else. Not surprisingly, Anna selects these hearing aids, but once she is fitted with them and experiences "less than normal" hearing, she leaves the office with tears of disappointment rather than tears of joy. This is a true story.
Hearing difficulty (HD) and tinnitus in the presence of normal audiometric thresholds represent a clinical challenge. So-called, hidden hearing loss (HHL) has captured significant interest from clinicians and researchers in attempts to understand factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Etiologies ranging from cochlear synaptopathy to central auditory processing deficits have been suggested. Most audiologists have come across these patients with complaints of hearing problems (particularly in noise) but normal hearing.