Turning up the volume doesn’t always resolve hearing loss issues. Consider this: Many people are unable to understand conversations even though they are able to hear soft sounds. The reason for this is hearing loss frequently occurs unevenly. You tend to lose specific frequencies but have no problem hearing others, and that can make speech sound muffled.
Types of Hearing Loss
- Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the little hairs in the inner ear, also known as cilia, are harmed, and this condition is more common. When sound is perceived, it vibrates these hairs which transmit chemical messages to the auditory nerve to be sent to the brain for translation. When these little hairs in your inner ear are injured or killed, they don’t ever re-grow. This is why the common aging process is often the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Over the course of our lives, sensorineural hearing loss increases because we expose ourselves to loud noise, have underlying health issues, and take certain medications.
- Conductive hearing loss is a result of a mechanical issue in the ear. It could be a result of excessive buildup of earwax or due to an ear infection or a congenital structural issue. Your root condition, in many cases, can be addressed by your hearing specialist and they can, if needed, recommend hearing aids to help fill in any remaining hearing impairment.
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
You might hear a bit better if people talk louder to you, but it’s not going to completely address your hearing loss problems. Particular sounds, such as consonant sounds, can become difficult to hear for individuals who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. This could cause somebody who has hearing loss to the incorrect idea that people around them are mumbling when in fact, they’re talking clearly.
When someone is dealing with hearing loss, the frequency of consonants typically makes them hard to distinguish. 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 instance, 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. Because of damage to the inner ear, these higher pitches are difficult to hear for individuals who have sensorineural hearing loss.
Because of this, simply speaking louder is not always helpful. If you can’t understand some of the letters in a word like “shift,” it won’t make much difference how loudly the other person talks.
How Can Wearing Hearing Aids Help With This?
Hearing Aids go inside your ears helping sound reach your auditory system more directly and get rid of some of the environmental sound you would normally hear. Also, the frequencies you are unable to hear are amplified and mixed with the sounds you are able to hear in a balanced way. In this way, you get more clarity. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to understand speech by blocking some of the unwanted background noise.