Cranking up the volume doesn’t always remedy hearing loss issues. Consider this: Many people are able to hear really soft sounds, but can’t make out conversations. That’s because hearing loss is often irregular. Specific frequencies are muted while you can hear others without any problem.
Hearing Loss Comes in Numerous Types
- Sensorineural hearing loss is more prevalent and caused by issues with the little hairs, or cilia, in the inner ear. When sound is perceived, it moves these hairs which transmit chemical messages to the auditory nerve to be passed to the brain for interpretation. When these fragile hairs in your inner ear are injured or destroyed, they don’t regenerate. This is why sensorineural hearing loss is commonly a result of 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 issues, and use certain medications.
- Conductive hearing loss happens when the ear has internal mechanical problems. It might be a congenital structural issue or a result of an ear infection or excessive wax buildup. In most circumstances, hearing specialists can manage the root condition to enhance your hearing, and if required, recommend hearing aids to fill in for any remaining hearing loss.
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Requesting that people talk louder will help to some degree, but it won’t fix your hearing problems. People who have sensorineural hearing loss have trouble understanding certain sounds, like consonants in speech. Despite the fact that people around them are speaking clearly, somebody with this condition might believe that people are mumbling.
When someone is coping with hearing loss, the pitch of consonants typically makes them difficult to distinguish. The frequency of sound, or pitch, is measured in hertz (hz) and the higher pitch of consonants is what makes them more difficult 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. Conversely, consonants like “f” and “s” register at 1,500 to 6,000 Hz. Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss have a hard time processing these higher-pitched sounds due to the damage to their inner ears.
Because of this, simply talking louder is not always helpful. It’s not going to help much when someone speaks 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 come with a component that fits into the ear, so sounds get to your auditory system without the interference you would normally hear in your environment. Also, the frequencies you are unable to hear are boosted and mixed with the sounds you can hear in a balanced way. In this way, you attain more clarity. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to understand speech by canceling some of the unwanted background noise.