High-frequency hearing loss is a very commonly experienced form of hearing loss, and unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult to live with due to tit making it more difficult to understand conversations, singing and other important signals like alarms.
Who Can Experience High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
High-frequency hearing loss can affect anyone no matter how young or old, however, it is more commonly experienced by seniors who are experiencing hearing loss due to their age and individuals who have experienced prolonged exposure to loud noises.
What Causes High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
High-frequency hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear, specifically the hearing cells that are located within. Stereocilia are delicate cells that look a bit like hair, and they are used by the body to convert sound waves into electrical impulses that are then directed to the brain, which converts them into the sounds you hear.
Various things can cause damage to the stereocilia, including:
- Loud noises
- Certain medications, specifically ototoxic medications.
- Ear infections
- Meniere’s disease
What are the Symptoms of High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
If you notice any of the following symptoms, it might be a good idea to speak to an audiologist about the possibility of high-frequency hearing loss:
- Inability to understand what people are saying to you, despite the fact you can hear them.
- Inability to understand words with come consonants.
- Trouble hearing higher-pitched sounds like birdsong, ladies’ voices, children and electronic beeping.
- High-pitched noises that cause irritation and stress.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can help you with a diagnosis, so be sure to make an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible.
How is a diagnosis of high-frequency loss determined?
Your audiologist will administer a hearing test. You will be placed in a special sound-treated booth to determine whether you can hear sounds between 2000 hertz and 8000 hertz as well as you should. If your hearing at these frequencies is diminished, chances are you will be diagnosed with high-frequency hearing loss.
What is the Treatment for High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
For most people most of the time, hearing aids are a good solution. Your audiologist will recommend a specific hearing aid for you depending on how severe your hearing loss is. How do hearing aids work?
They can be programmed to amplify the kinds of sounds, namely high-pitched sounds, that you struggle to hear well naturally, which means your hearing loss will not impact you nearly as much as it once did.
Your audiologist may also ask you to wear hearing protection whence you are likely to be in the vicinity of loud noise. This will usually only be the case if they think loud noise exposure could have caused your high-frequency hearing loss and it is important that you take their advice if you do not want your hearing health to decline further.
It is important that, if you think you might be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss, you do see an audiologist as soon as possible because it is a condition that can and will decline as time goes on and should it progress to the severe stage, you will find that it is really difficult to manage it effectively.
When left untreated, high-frequency hearing loss can also cause depression, cognitive decline, memory loss and even dementia in older people. In children, it has been known to cause speech delays and emotional issues.
Can You Prevent High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
Although high-frequency is usually irreversible, it is often possible to prevent experiencing it at all, and as you will know, prevention is always better than cure.
How Can You Lower Your Chances of Hearing Loss?
Start by avoiding loud noises if you can. If you are listening to a sound that is over 85 decibels, then you need to wear ear protectors. If you’re using earphones, then you should ensure that you never turn the sound up above the recommended safe limit.
It is also a really good idea to have regular hearing health checks with your audiologist because the sooner a problem is identified, the sooner it can be treated and your hearing loss is less likely to progress and worsen over the years as a result. This is particularly important if you have a close relative who is experiencing high-frequency hearing loss because there is a genetic component to the condition.
If you are experiencing symptoms of high-frequency hearing loss, you need to speak to a qualified audiologist. You can do that by calling Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology at (661) 250-6781. We’re here to help.