Here’s one thing many people are surprised to discover: in most cases of hearing loss, people can hear many sounds just fine, and have a hard time only with select sounds.
In particular, if you have trouble only with high-pitched sounds, you may have the most common kind of hearing loss, referred to as high-frequency hearing loss.
With high-frequency hearing loss, you can likely hear lower-pitched sounds normally, causing the impression that your hearing is normal. Higher-pitched sounds, on the other hand, may not be detected at all.
So which frequencies should you be able to hear with normal hearing?
To start with, sound can be classified both by its loudness (measured in decibels) and by its frequency or pitch (measured in Hertz).
With normal hearing, you’d have the ability to hear sounds inside the frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hertz, but the most important sounds are within 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 might 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 increasing the volume (by as high as 90 decibels with profound hearing loss).
So which higher-pitched sounds, in particular, would you have difficulty hearing with high-frequency hearing loss?
Here are four:
Speech comprises a combination of both low and high frequency sounds.
Vowel sounds, like the short “o” in the word “hot,” have low frequencies and are usually easy to hear even with hearing loss.
Problems surface with consonants like “s,” “h,” and “f,” which have higher frequencies and are harder to hear. Since consonants express the majority of of the meaning in speech, it’s no wonder that individuals with high frequency hearing loss have difficulty following discussions or TV show plots.
2. The voices of women and children
For the countless numbers 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, those with hearing loss might find it easier to hear the male voice.
Several of our patients do complain about not hearing their grandkids, and this will often be the principal incentive for a hearing test.
3. The chirping of birds
The sounds of birds chirping are in the higher frequencies, which means you may stop hearing these sounds entirely.
Indeed, we’ve had patients specifically mention their surprise when they could hear the sounds of birds once again with their new hearing aids.
4. Certain musical instruments
The flute, the violin, and other musical instruments capable of making high frequency sounds can be difficult to hear for those with hearing loss.
Music as a whole does tend to lose some of its potency in those with hearing loss, as certain instruments and frequencies cannot be distinguished.
How hearing aids can help
Together with the above, you may have trouble 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 trick to treating high-frequency hearing loss is in amplifying only the specified frequencies you have difficulty hearing. That’s why it’s crucial to select the right hearing aids and to have them programmed by an experienced professional.
If you amplify the wrong frequencies, or even worse amplify all frequencies, you’re not going to get the outcome you desire.
If you believe you may have high-frequency hearing loss, give us a call today. Our experienced hearing professionals will meticulously test your hearing, pinpoint the frequencies you have difficulty with, and program your hearing aids for optimal hearing.
Are you ready to begin enjoying your favorite sounds again?