Woman struggling to hear her husband while camping.

Turning up the volume doesn’t always resolve hearing loss issues. Think about this: Many people can’t understand conversations even though they are able to hear soft sounds. The reason for this is hearing loss often occurs unevenly. Specific frequencies get lost while you can hear others perfectly fine.

Hearing Loss Comes in Numerous Types

  • Conductive hearing loss happens when the ear has internal mechanical issues. It might be because of too much earwax buildup or due to an ear infection or a congenital structural issue. Your underlying condition, in many circumstances, can be managed by your hearing specialist and they can, if necessary, advise hearing aids to help fill in any remaining hearing loss.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss happens when the tiny hairs in the inner ear, also known as cilia, are damaged, and this condition is more typical. These hairs vibrate when they detect sound and send out chemical messages to the auditory nerve, which passes them to the brain for translation. These little hairs do not heal when damaged or destroyed. This is why the ordinary aging process is often the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Things like exposure to loud noise, certain medications, and underlying health conditions can also lead to sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

You might hear a little better if people talk louder to you, but it’s not going to comprehensively manage your hearing loss issues. Specific sounds, including consonant sounds, can be hard to hear for individuals who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. This may lead someone with hearing loss to the incorrect idea that people around them are mumbling when in fact, they are talking clearly.

When someone is coping with hearing loss, the pitch of consonants typically makes them difficult to make out. Pitch is measured in hertz (Hz), and many consonants register in our ears at a higher pitch than other sounds. For example, a short “o” registers at 250 to 1,000 Hz, depending on the voice of the person speaking. 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 difficult to hear for people who have sensorineural hearing loss.

Because of this, simply speaking louder is not always helpful. It won’t help much when someone talks 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 fit in your ears helping sound get into your auditory system more directly and get rid of some of the environmental sound you would usually hear. Also, the frequencies you are unable to hear are amplified and mixed with the sounds you can hear in a balanced way. This makes what you hear much more clear. Modern hearing aids can also cancel out background noise to make it easier to understand speech.

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