Hearing Health Blog

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

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

Symptoms of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

With high-frequency hearing loss, consonant sounds that allow conversations to be understood, get muddled even though you might still be able to register the volume of a woman or a child’s voice. Usually the hardest to differentiate are consonant sounds like ch, th, t, soft s, c, sh, k, f, and h. So, it may sound like a woman or child is mumbling, even though they actually aren’t. 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. This can lead to frustration, despair and social isolation from your circle of family and friends.

People who have high-frequency hearing loss also don’t hear other sounds falling within the high-frequency range (2000 Hz and higher). This includes birds chirping, high musical notes, sirens or squeaks. Low-frequency sounds like bass musical notes, the rumble of thunder or a man’s voice might still be fairly easy to detect, even if the volume isn’t that loud.

Causes of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Usually imperceptible at first, high-frequency hearing loss, the most widespread kind of hearing loss, can sneak up on you as you age. high-frequency hearing loss can be induced by other things in addition to aging like certain medical issues like cardiovascular disease, excessive noise exposure, and some medications.

These situations all cause damage to the tiny, hair-like sensory cells inside of the cochlea. It’s these tiny cells that pick up sound input and send it to the brain for processing. The higher pitched sounds are typically the first to be tough to understand because the high-frequency cells get damaged more easily than the lower pitched cells.

How to Prevent High-Frequency Hearing Loss

While you can’t stop your ears from getting older, there are several things you can do to stop or at least slow the progression of high-frequency hearing loss. Some of these include:

  • When getting rid of earwax, never utilize a swab or any other small object. This can push old ear wax into your ear canal and blunt your capacity to hear. Carefully wash out excessive earwax with a cloth after you shower, or ask your hearing care specialist about other ear irrigation techniques for eliminating earwax without hurting your hearing.
  • Quieter things are better. Pick the quietest model by checking the noise rating of the appliances. If it’s tough to hear your friends at dinner, don’t be afraid to ask the manager to turn down the music.
  • Taking good care of your general health. Smoking can injury your hearing. Your hearing can also be damaged by poor health due to poor nutrition. Try to take good care of your health in all aspects and this will safeguard your hearing also.
  • In loud situations, put in hearing protection.A definite indication that your ears might be getting damaged is if you need to yell to be heard in a loud environment. Heavy traffic, motorcycles revving, power tools running, the loud sound systems at movies or live music concerts are all good examples of times when popping in the ear-plugs is a good idea. Noise-canceling earphones are also a good option in some situations, but may not fit inside your pocket as easily as ear-plugs.
  • Ask your doctor about medications you take. At least 200 different kinds of medications can cause or worsen high-frequency hearing loss. Your hearing can even be damaged by too much aspirin. To find out if there are choices less likely to damage your hearing, consult your doctor. If you can’t avoid taking a particular medication, keep in close contact with your hearing care professional for regular hearing loss and balance testing. Further hearing loss can be avoided by treatment.

Treatment For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Hearing aids are presently the most effective method for dealing with high-frequency hearing loss. And because this is the most common kind of hearing loss, there are various different designs a person can choose from. So that they are crisper to the user, hearing aids can increase high pitched sounds. Several models are configurable and your hearing care expert can help fine-tune them to increase your ability to hear those sounds at the right level, directly addressing the level and degree of the hearing loss. Some hearing aids can be manipulated by your phone and come with directional microphones for fine-tuning in circumstances such as business meetings, restaurant dinners, talking on the phone or listening to children.

Schedule a hearing test if you suspect you may have high-frequency hearing loss. Odds are, there are individually-customized answers that can increase your capacity to hear your grandchild’s priceless one-liners.

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