Woman struggling to hear her husband while camping.

Hearing loss problems aren’t always resolved by cranking up the volume. Think about this: Lots of people are unable to hear conversations even though they are able to hear soft sounds. The reason for this is hearing loss frequently occurs unevenly. Certain frequencies get lost while you can hear others without any problem.

Hearing Loss Comes in Numerous Types

  • Conductive hearing loss develops when the ear has internal mechanical issues. It might be because of too much earwax buildup or due to an ear infection or a congenital structural problem. Your underlying condition, in many cases, can be managed by your hearing specialist and they can, if necessary, recommend hearing aids to help fill in any remaining hearing loss.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the tiny hairs in the inner ear, also known as cilia, are harmed, and this condition is more typical. These hairs vibrate when they sense 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 don’t regenerate. This is why the ordinary aging process is frequently the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Things like exposure to loud noise, particular medications, and underlying health conditions can also bring about sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

Asking people to talk louder will help to some degree, but it won’t fix your hearing problems. Specific sounds, such as consonant sounds, can be difficult to hear for individuals who have sensorineural hearing loss. Despite the fact that people around them are speaking clearly, someone with this condition may believe that everyone is mumbling.

The pitch of consonant sounds make them difficult to hear for someone experiencing hearing loss. 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. For example, a short “o” registers at 250 to 1,000 Hz, depending on the voice of the person talking. But consonants including “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 talks louder if you don’t hear 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 reach your auditory system without the interference you would normally hear in your environment. Also, the frequencies you can’t hear are amplified and mixed with the sounds you are able to hear in a balanced way. This makes what you hear much more clear. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to understand speech by canceling some of the unwanted background noise.

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