Hearing loss problems aren’t always solved by cranking the volume up. Here’s something to consider: Many people can’t hear conversations even though they are able to hear soft sounds. That’s because hearing loss is frequently uneven. You tend to lose certain frequencies but have no problem hearing others, and that can make voices sound muffled.
Types of Hearing Loss
- Conductive hearing loss is triggered by a mechanical problem in the ear. It could be a congenital structural issue or a result of an ear infection or excessive wax accumulation. Your root condition, in many circumstances, can be managed by your hearing specialist and they can, if necessary, advise hearing aids to help fill in any remaining hearing loss.
- Sensorineural hearing loss happens when the little hairs in the inner ear, also known as cilia, are harmed, and this condition is more prevalent. When sound is sensed, it vibrates these hairs which send chemical messages to the auditory nerve to be passed to the brain for interpretation. These little hairs do not heal when damaged or destroyed. This is why sensorineural hearing loss is frequently caused by the normal process of aging. Over the course of our lives, sensorineural hearing loss develops because we expose ourselves to loud noise, have underlying health problems, and use certain medications.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms
You may hear a bit better if people talk louder to you, but it isn’t going to completely deal with your hearing loss challenges. Individuals who have sensorineural hearing loss have a difficult time making out certain sounds, like consonants in speech. Although people around them are talking clearly, someone with this condition may believe that people are mumbling.
When somebody is dealing with hearing loss, the frequency of consonants typically makes them hard to make out. The frequency of sound, or pitch, is measured 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 speaking. Conversely, consonants like “f” and “s” register at 1,500 to 6,000 Hz. People with sensorineural hearing loss have difficulty processing these higher-pitched sounds because of the damage to their inner ears.
This is why just speaking louder doesn’t always help. If you can’t hear some of the letters in a word like “shift,” it won’t make much difference how loudly the other person talks.
How do Hearing Aids Help?
Hearing Aids go inside your ears helping sound get into your auditory system more directly and eliminating some of the environmental sound you would normally hear. Hearing aids also help you by boosting the frequencies you’re unable to hear and balancing that with the frequencies you are able to hear. This makes what you hear much more clear. Modern hearing aids can also block out background sound to make it easier to make out speech.