Hearing Health Blog

Woman struggling to hear her husband while camping.

Hearing loss issues aren’t always resolved by cranking the volume up. Consider this: Lots of people can’t understand conversations even though they are able to hear soft sounds. The reason for this is hearing loss frequently occurs unevenly. Certain frequencies are muted while you can hear others without any problem.

Types of Hearing Loss

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when the ear has internal mechanical issues. It may be a result of too much earwax buildup or due to an ear infection or a congenital structural problem. In many circumstances, hearing specialists can manage the root condition to improve your hearing, and if necessary, recommend hearing aids to fill in for any remaining hearing loss.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss develops when the little hairs in the inner ear, also called cilia, are harmed, and this condition is more typical. When sound is sensed, it moves these hairs which transmit chemical messages to the auditory nerve to be sent to the brain for translation. These delicate hairs do not regenerate when damaged or destroyed. This is why the common aging process is frequently the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Over the course of our lives, sensorineural hearing loss develops because we expose ourselves to loud noise, have underlying health issues, and use certain medications.

Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Asking people to speak up when they talk to you will help some, but it won’t fix your hearing problems. Specific sounds, like consonant sounds, can become difficult to hear for people who have sensorineural hearing loss. This may lead somebody with hearing loss to the incorrect idea that those around them are mumbling when actually, they’re speaking clearly.

The frequency of consonant sounds make them difficult to hear for someone dealing with hearing loss. Pitch is measured in hertz (Hz), and many consonants register in our ears at a higher pitch than other sounds. Depending on the voice of the person speaking, a short “o”, for example, will register between 250 and 1,000 hertz. Conversely, consonants like “f” and “s” register at 1,500 to 6,000 Hz. Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss have difficulty processing these higher-pitched sounds because of the damage to their inner ears.

This is why simply speaking louder doesn’t always help. If you can’t understand some of the letters in a word like “shift,” it won’t make much difference how loudly the other person speaks.

How Can Wearing Hearing Aids Help With This?

Hearing Aids fit in your ears helping sound reach 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. In this way, you attain more clarity. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to understand speech by blocking some of the unwanted background noise.

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