Woman struggling to hear her husband while camping.

Turning up the volume doesn’t always remedy hearing loss issues. Here’s something to think about: Lots of people are capable of hearing very soft sounds, but can’t make out conversations. The reason for this is hearing loss frequently occurs unevenly. Specific frequencies are muted while you can hear others without any problem.

Types of Hearing Loss

  • Sensorineural hearing loss is more common and caused by issues with the fragile hairs, or cilia, in the inner ear. These hairs move when they detect sound and release chemical impulses to the auditory nerve, which passes them to the brain for interpretation. When these delicate hairs in your inner ear are injured or killed, they don’t regenerate. This is why the common aging process is frequently the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Things like exposure to loud noise, particular medications, and underlying health conditions can also bring about sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Conductive hearing loss is triggered by a mechanical issue in the ear. It could be a congenital structural problem or a result of an ear infection or excessive wax buildup. In many circumstances, hearing specialists can treat the root condition to improve your hearing, and if necessary, recommend hearing aids to fill in for any remaining hearing loss.

Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

You might hear a bit better if people speak louder to you, but it’s not going to comprehensively address your hearing loss challenges. Particular sounds, including consonant sounds, can be hard to hear for individuals who have sensorineural hearing loss. Despite the fact that people around them are speaking clearly, someone with this condition may believe that everyone is mumbling.

When somebody is dealing with hearing loss, the frequency of consonants often makes them hard to make out. The frequency of sound, or pitch, is measured in hertz (hz) and the higher pitch of consonants is what makes them harder for some people to hear. Depending on the voice of the person talking, a short “o”, for example, will register between 250 and 1,000 hertz. But consonants like “f” or “s” will be anywhere from 1,500 to 6,000 hertz. Because of damage to the inner ear, these higher pitches are hard to hear for individuals who have sensorineural hearing loss.

Because of this, simply speaking louder is not always helpful. It’s not going to help much when someone speaks louder if you don’t understand some of the letters in a word like “shift”.

How Can Using Hearing Aids Help With This?

Hearing Aids fit inside your ears helping sound get into your auditory system more directly and get rid of some of the environmental noise you would normally hear. Also, the frequencies you can’t hear are boosted and mixed with the sounds you are able to hear in a balanced way. In this way, you get more clarity. Modern hearing aids can also block out background sound to make it easier to make out speech.

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