Hearing loss issues aren’t always solved by cranking the volume up. Think about this: Lots of people are able to hear really soft sounds, but can’t understand conversations. That’s because hearing loss is frequently irregular. Certain frequencies get lost while you can hear others without any problem.
Types of Hearing Loss
- Conductive hearing loss is a result of a mechanical issue in the ear. It might be because of excessive earwax buildup or caused by an ear infection or a congenital structural issue. Your root condition, in many circumstances, can be addressed by your hearing specialist and they can, if necessary, advise hearing aids to help fill in any remaining hearing impairment.
- Sensorineural hearing loss develops when the tiny hairs in the inner ear, also known as cilia, are harmed, and this condition is more common. These hairs move when they detect sound and send out chemical messages to the auditory nerve, which transmits them to the brain for translation. When these little hairs in your inner ear are damaged or destroyed, they do not regenerate. This is why the normal aging process is frequently the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Things like exposure to loud noise, specific medications, and illnesses can also lead to sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms
Requesting that people speak up when they talk to you will help to some degree, but it won’t fix your hearing issues. Specific sounds, like consonant sounds, can become hard to hear for individuals who have sensorineural hearing loss. This may cause someone who has hearing loss to the mistaken conclusion that those around them are mumbling when actually, they are speaking clearly.
When someone is dealing with hearing loss, the pitch of consonants often makes them difficult to distinguish. The frequency of sound, or pitch, is calculated in hertz (hz) and the higher pitch of consonants is what makes them harder for some people to hear. Depending on the voice of the person talking, a short “o”, for instance, 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 difficult to hear for people who have sensorineural hearing loss.
This is why simply speaking louder doesn’t always help. It won’t help much when someone speaks louder if you don’t understand some of the letters in a word like “shift”.
How Can Using Hearing Aids Help With This?
Hearing aids have a component that fits into the ear, so sounds get to your auditory system without the interference you would typically hear in your environment. Hearing aids also help you by boosting the frequencies you’re unable to hear and balancing that with the frequencies you are able to hear. In this way, you get more clarity. Modern hearing aids can also cancel out background noise to make it easier to understand speech.