High-frequency hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss. It can affect anyone of any age, but is most common in older adults and those frequently exposed to loud noises. Below is an overview of everything you need to know about high-frequency hearing loss.
What Are the Symptoms of High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
People with high-frequency hearing loss have difficulty detecting and making meaning of high-pitch sounds like women’s and children’s voices, birds chirping and electronic devices beeping.
It is especially difficult for people with high-frequency hearing loss to hear certain consonants, like s, h and f, because they are spoken at a higher frequency than vowels and other speech sounds. This can cause voices to sound muffled, especially on the phone, on the television and in noisy situations. It is common for people with high-frequency hearing loss to report that they can hear but not understand.
How Is High-Frequency Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
High-frequency hearing loss is diagnosed using a standard hearing test in a sound-treated booth. During a pure tone hearing test, an audiologist plays a series of tones at various volumes and pitches, and you are asked to indicate which tones you can hear. Another similar test, called a speech discrimination test, is conducted in the same way, except words are played instead of tones, and you’re asked to repeat the words you hear.
The results of your hearing test are plotted on an audiogram, which is a graph that shows your exact degree of hearing loss. For a person with high-frequency hearing loss, the line on the audiogram will slope downward on the right side, indicating trouble hearing frequencies between 2,000 and 8,000 Hz. High-frequency hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. Results may differ for each ear.
What Causes High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
High-frequency hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. Within the ears are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. Once damaged, these cells do not regenerate, and permanent high-frequency hearing loss is the result.
A number of factors can cause the stereocilia to die. The natural aging process, noise exposure, genetics, certain medications and various diseases can all lead to high-frequency hearing loss.
For more information about high-frequency hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to discuss treatment options, call the experts at Chelmsford Hearing Group today.