4 Important Sounds You’re Missing With Hearing Loss

Here’s one thing most people are surprised to learn: in most cases of hearing loss, people can hear a number of sounds without any problem, and have a hard time only with select sounds.

Particularly, if you have difficulty only with high-pitched sounds, you may suffer from the most common type of hearing loss, referred to as high-frequency hearing loss.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you can probably hear lower-pitched sounds normally, creating the perception that your hearing is normal. Higher-pitched sounds, however, may not be perceived at all.

So which frequencies should you be able to hear with standard hearing?

To begin with, sound can be characterized both by its loudness (calculated in decibels) and by its frequency or pitch (measured in Hertz).

With standard hearing, you’d have the ability to hear sounds inside the frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hertz, but the most worthwhile sounds are inside the range of 250 to 6,000 Hz. Inside of that range, you would be able to hear most frequencies at a fairly low volume of between 0-25 decibels.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you might be able to hear the lower frequencies at comparatively low volumes (0-25 decibels), but you wouldn’t be able to hear the higher frequency sounds without raising the volume (by as high as 90 decibels with profound hearing loss).

So which higher-pitched sounds, in particular, would you have trouble hearing with high-frequency hearing loss?

Here are four:

1. CONSONANTS

Speech involves a blend of both low and high frequency sounds.

Vowel sounds, like the short “o” in the word “hot,” have low frequencies and are usually easy to hear even with hearing loss.

Problems develop with consonants such as “s,” “h,” and “f,” which have higher frequencies and are more difficult to hear. Since consonants transmit the majority of of the meaning in speech, it’s no wonder that individuals with high frequency hearing loss have trouble following conversations or TV show plots.

2. THE VOICES OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

For the large number of men who have been accused of ignoring their wives or of having “selective hearing,” they may possibly for once have a legitimate defense.

Women and children tend to have higher-pitched voices with less magnitude, or loudness. As a result, people with hearing loss might find it easier to hear the male voice.

Many of our patients do complain about not hearing their grandchildren, and this will oftentimes be the leading incentive for a hearing test.

3. THE CHIRPING OF BIRDS

The songs of birds chirping are in the higher frequencies, which means you might stop hearing these sounds entirely.

Indeed, we’ve had patients specifically talk about their surprise when they could hear the sounds of birds once again with their new hearing aids.

4. CERTAIN MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

The flute, the violin, and other musical instruments capable of making high frequency sounds can be difficult to hear for people with hearing loss.

Music on the whole does tend to lose some of its potency in those with hearing loss, as certain instruments and frequencies cannot be distinguished.

HOW HEARING AIDS CAN HELP

In combination with the above, you may have trouble hearing several other sounds, like rustling leaves, rainfall, and the sound of streaming water.

But it’s not impossible to get these sounds back.

The trick to treating high-frequency hearing loss is in amplifying only the specific frequencies you have difficulty hearing. That’s why it’s imperative to obtain the right hearing aids and to have them programmed by an experienced professional.

If you amplify the incorrect frequencies, or worse yet amplify all frequencies, you’re not going to get the results you want.

If you suspect you might have high-frequency hearing loss, give us a call today. Our experienced hearing professionals will comprehensively test your hearing, pinpoint the frequencies you have difficulty with, and program your hearing aids for optimal hearing.

Are you ready to start enjoying your favorite sounds again?

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