4 Important Sounds You’re Missing With Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Here’s something many people are surprised to discover: in most cases of hearing loss, people can hear many sounds just fine, and have difficulty only with select sounds.

Particularly, if you have trouble only with high-pitched sounds, you may suffer from the most common type of hearing loss, known as high-frequency hearing loss.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you can probably hear lower-pitched sounds normally, creating the impression that your hearing is normal. Higher-pitched sounds, however, may not be perceived at all.

So which frequencies should you be able to hear with healthy hearing?

To start with, sound can be described both by its intensity (measured in decibels) and by its frequency or pitch (measured in Hertz).

With standard hearing, you’d be able to hear sounds inside the frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hertz, but the most important sounds are inside the range of 250 to 6,000 Hz. Within that range, you would be able to hear most frequencies at a relatively low volume of between 0-25 decibels.

With high-frequency hearing loss, you may be able to hear the lower frequencies at reasonably low volumes (0-25 decibels), but you wouldn’t be able to hear the higher frequency sounds without raising the volume (by as high as 90 decibels with severe hearing loss).

So which higher-pitched sounds, in particular, would you have trouble hearing with high-frequency hearing loss?

Here are four:

1. Consonants

Speech features a mix of both low and high frequency sounds.

Vowel sounds, such as the short “o” in the word “hot,” have low frequencies and are usually easy to hear even with hearing loss.

Problems result with consonants such as “s,” “h,” and “f,” which have higher frequencies and are much harder to hear. Since consonants transmit the majority of of the meaning in speech, it’s no wonder that individuals with high frequency hearing loss have trouble following conversations or movie plots.

2. The voices of women and children

For the large number of men who have been accused of ignoring their wives or of having “selective hearing,” they might for once have a legitimate defense.

Women and children tend to have higher-pitched voices with less magnitude, or loudness. Because of this, people with hearing loss might find it easier to hear the male voice.

Many of our patients do complain about not hearing their grandkids, and this will often be the key motivator for a hearing test.

3. The chirping of birds

The songs of birds chirping are generally in the higher frequencies, which means you may stop hearing these sounds entirely.

In fact, we’ve had patients specifically describe their surprise when they could hear the sounds of birds again with their new hearing aids.

4. Certain musical instruments

The flute, the violin, and other musical instruments capable of crafting high frequency sounds can be challenging to hear for people with hearing loss.

Music in general does tend to lose some of its power in those with hearing loss, as certain instruments and frequencies cannot be distinguished.

How hearing aids can help

Combined with the above, you may have difficulty hearing many other sounds, like rustling leaves, rainfall, and the sound of flowing water.

But it’s not impossible to get these sounds back.

The key to treating high-frequency hearing loss is in amplifying only the specific frequencies you have difficulty hearing. That’s why it’s crucial to obtain the right hearing aids and to have them programmed by a skilled professional.

If you amplify the wrong frequencies, or worse yet amplify all frequencies, you’re not going to get the results you desire.

If you think you may have high-frequency hearing loss, give us a call today. Our seasoned hearing professionals will comprehensively test your hearing, pinpoint the frequencies you have trouble with, and program your hearing aids for optimal hearing.

Are you ready to start enjoying your favorite sounds again?