Two very common types of hearing loss include noise induced hearing loss and presbycusis, or age related hearing loss. Both of these are permanent in the fact that once our inner ear hair cells are damaged, we have no way in restoring their function to normal. Both conditions frequently result in something call high frequency hearing loss.
What is high frequency hearing loss?
Our ears hear a wide range of tones or frequencies. These range from low or bass tones, to high or treble tones. Often times, only part of the hearing range is damaged. For people who have high frequency hearing loss, it is not uncommon to have normal hearing for the bass or low pitch tones, but to have lost the ability to hear the high pitches. If you picture a radio that has all of the treble tuned out of it, this is what it can be like with high frequency hearing loss. You will still hear, but often times people complain of a lack of clarity.
How can high frequency hearing loss affect me?
Clarity in our hearing comes from the ability to hear high frequency sounds. We have many valuable speech sounds in the high frequency region that are important for distinguishing words. These include the “s” “f” “t” “th” sounds to name a few. Somebody who has high frequency hearing loss may hear the word “wife” and “white” the same, and this often leads to a misunderstanding. We will hear patients with high frequency hearing loss say, “I can hear the voice, I just don’t understand what they’re saying.”
Missing out on these valuable speech cues and having misunderstanding can be very frustrating. This frustration can lead to the listener giving up, or possibly isolating themselves because they don’t want to put in the extra effort to communicate.
Hearing aids can help with high frequency hearing loss
Hearing aid technology allows for the important speech information to be amplified to a point that the individual ear can use the information again. It is important that individuals don’t go too long without hearing the high frequencies because the longer the brain goes w/out hearing certain tones, the harder it is to introduce them back at a later time. Remember, the brain is a muscle, and you have to keep it exercised to keep it strong.
The first step in identifying whether or not hearing loss exists, is to visit an audiologist for a hearing test. If you think you may have hearing loss come meet with one of our Doctors of Audiology. Together we work with our medical doctors to come up with the best treatment options for your needs. Call us at 651-888-7800 to schedule an appointment.
In the meantime, here is some information about why our hearing is so important.