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Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO

Woman talking with her granddaughter at a pier now that she is not suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

Hearing loss is not just about volume, it’s about pitch. If you find it hard to comprehend the speech of a woman or a child, but you can still, for the most part, understand the men in the room, you might have some degree of high-frequency hearing loss. You’re not alone…this is the most prevalent form of hearing loss.

high-frequency Hearing Loss Symptoms

With high-frequency hearing loss, consonant sounds that make conversations understandable, get muddled even though you might still be able to register the volume of a woman or a child’s voice. Usually, consonant sounds like t, th, ch, soft c, s, sh, f, k, and h are the hardest to differentiate. Even though a woman or a child is not mumbling, it may sound that way. Losing the ability to differentiate these sounds makes it very difficult to understand a child’s joke or your sister’s question about dinner plans. Separation from friends and family, sadness, and frustration can be the result.

Other sounds within the high-frequency hearing loss range (2000 Hz) are lost to people with this problem. This includes high musical notes, birds chirping, and squeaks or sirens. Low-frequency sounds such as bass musical notes, the rumble of thunder or a man’s voice may still be quite easy to discern, even if the volume isn’t that loud.

Reasons For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

As the most common type of loss of hearing, high-frequency hearing loss can sneak up on people as they age, often imperceptibly at first. In addition to aging, too much noise exposure, particular medications and a number of medical issues such as cardiovascular disease can cause high-frequency hearing loss.

These scenarios all do damage to the tiny, hair-like sensory cells inside the cochlea. It’s these tiny cells that pick up sound input and send it to the brain for processing. The high-frequency sensory cells are more vulnerable to injury than the low-frequency sensory cells, and this is why the higher-pitched sounds are commonly the first to become difficult to understand.

How to Prevent High-Frequency Hearing Loss

You can take several steps to slow or stop the progress of high-frequency hearing loss even though you can’t stop your ears from aging. Some of these include:

  • When getting rid of earwax, never use a swab or any other small object. This can push old ear wax into your ear canal and dull your capacity to hear. Carefully wipe out excessive earwax with a rag when you’re done showering, or ask your hearing care specialist about other ear irrigation techniques for eliminating earwax without hurting your hearing.
  • Quieter things are better. Find noise ratings on appliances and choose the quietest versions. And don’t be scared to ask the restaurant manager to turn the music down if it’s hard to hear your dinner companions.
  • If you take any medication, ask your doctor if it has any effect on hearing. high-frequency hearing loss can be triggered by at least 200 different kinds of medications. Even too much aspirin can harm your hearing. Check with your doctor to determine if there are options less likely to injure your hearing. Stay in close contact with your hearing health care provider if you can’t abstain from taking a certain medication. Further hearing loss can be avoided by treatment.
  • In loud surroundings, wear hearing protection. If you have to yell to be heard in a loud setting, this is a definite indication the noise might damage your hearing. Some examples of occasions when wearing ear protection are rock concerts, engines revving, running power tools, and a loud stereo. Noise canceling headphone may not fit in your pocket, but they are the best choice in certain situations.
  • Taking good care of your overall health. Your hearing can be damaged by smoking. Poor health, poor nutrition, or not enough exercise can also hurt your hearing. Preserve your hearing by taking care of your general health.

Treatment For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Currently, the most reliable technique for dealing with high-frequency hearing loss is hearing aids. And since this is the most widespread type of hearing loss, there are numerous different designs a person can choose from. Hearing aids can boost high-pitched sounds so they are crisper to the listener. Several models are configurable and your hearing care expert can help fine-tune them to enhance your ability to hear those sounds at the right level, directly addressing the level and degree of the hearing loss. For situations like talking on the phone, listening to children, having dinner at a restaurant, or business meetings many hearing aids can be controlled by your phone and have directional microphones for fine-tuning.

Schedule a hearing test if you think you might have high-frequency hearing loss. If you would like to enhance your ability to hear your grandchild’s precious one-liner, odds are there are personally tailored answers for you.

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