Hearing loss issues aren’t always solved by turning up the volume. Here’s something to consider: Lots of people are able to hear very soft sounds, but can’t understand conversations. That’s because hearing loss is frequently irregular. Specific frequencies are muted while you can hear others perfectly fine.
Types of Hearing Loss
- Conductive hearing loss is triggered by a mechanical problem in the ear. It could be a congenital structural issue or a result of an ear infection or excessive wax accumulation. Your root condition, in many cases, can be managed by your hearing specialist and they can, if necessary, recommend hearing aids to help fill in any remaining hearing impairment.
- Sensorineural hearing loss is more prevalent and caused by problems with the fragile hairs, or cilia, in the inner ear. These hairs vibrate when they detect sound and release chemical messages to the auditory nerve, which passes them to the brain for interpretation. When these tiny hairs in your inner ear are damaged or destroyed, they do not ever re-grow. This is why the ordinary aging process is often the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Things like exposure to loud noise, particular medications, and underlying health conditions can also lead to sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms
You might hear a bit better if people speak louder to you, but it’s not going to comprehensively deal with your hearing loss issues. Specific sounds, including consonant sounds, can become hard to hear for individuals who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. Despite the fact that people around them are talking clearly, someone with this condition may think that people are mumbling.
When somebody is coping with hearing loss, the frequency of consonants typically makes them difficult to make out. The frequency of sound, or pitch, is measured in hertz (hz) and the higher pitch of consonants is what makes them more difficult for some people to hear. Depending on the voice of the person speaking, a short “o”, for example, will register between 250 and 1,000 hertz. But consonants like “f” or “s” will be anywhere from 1,500 to 6,000 hertz. Due to damage to the inner ear, these higher pitches are hard to hear for people who have sensorineural hearing loss.
Because of this, simply talking louder is not always helpful. It won’t help much when someone speaks louder if you don’t understand some of the letters in a word like “shift”.
How do Hearing Aids Help?
Hearing Aids fit in your ears helping sound get into your auditory system more directly and get rid of some of the outside noise you would typically hear. Hearing aids also help you by amplifying the frequencies you’re unable to hear and balancing that with the frequencies you can hear. This makes what you hear a lot more clear. Modern hearing aids can also cancel out background noise to make it easier to understand speech.