Life is enriched by the experiences we have through our five senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. Together, our senses enable us to learn and enjoy life. Hearing is especially vital; it enables us to communicate our wants, needs, and emotions.
You can’t reverse hearing loss. However, your audiologist can apply the appropriate care and technology to lessen their effects and improve the quality of sounds you hear. Unfortunately, many people suffering from a hearing loss are either unaware or ashamed of their condition, and therefore, do not utilize the advanced hearing aid technology that is available.
Types of Hearing Loss
The loudness of sound is measured in decibels. Pitch is measured in frequency of sound vibrations per second. A deep voice has a low pitch and frequency, whereas a child’s voice has a high pitch and frequency.
High-Frequency Hearing Loss
In the first stages of hearing loss, the high frequencies are usually lost first. Therefore, difficulty hearing or understanding high-pitched voices of women and children is one of the first symptoms. It is important to recognize that hearing someone and understanding them are two different things. High-frequency hearing loss distorts sound, which makes speech difficult to understand even if it can be heard.
People with hearing loss often have difficulty differentiating words that sound alike, especially words that contain S, F, SH, CH, H, TH, T, K or soft C sounds. These consonants are in a much higher frequency range than vowels and other consonants.
Degree of Hearing Loss
There are five levels or degrees of hearing loss. A person with normal hearing can perceive very soft sounds, whereas a person with a profound loss can only perceive sounds louder than 90 dB.
Hearing Loss Prevention
Avoiding loud noise may help prevent premature hearing loss. There are easy ways to identify if a particular sound is potentially harmful.
- Do I have difficulty talking or hearing others talk over the sound?
- Does the sound make your ears hurt?
- Do your ears ring after hearing the sound?
- Do other sounds seem muffled after exposure?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, the noise may be damaging your hearing. Most people don’t realize how loud everyday sounds actually are. Sounds above 85 dB are harmful depending on how long and how often you are exposed to them. The louder a sound is, the lower the amount of exposure is required to cause damage. If used properly, hearing protection devices can reduce the loudness of sound reaching the ears.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, click here to take our self assessment hearing test.