Woman struggling to hear her husband while camping.

Cranking up the volume doesn’t always solve hearing loss problems. Here’s something to think about: Lots of people are capable of hearing very soft sounds, but can’t hear conversations. The reason for this is hearing loss frequently develops unevenly. You tend to lose certain frequencies but have no problem hearing others, and that can make voices sound garbled.

Hearing Loss Comes in Numerous Types

  • Conductive hearing loss develops when the ear has internal mechanical problems. It could be a congenital structural problem or because of an ear infection or excessive wax accumulation. 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 impairment.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the little hairs in the inner ear, also known as cilia, are harmed, and this condition is more typical. These hairs move when they detect sound and release chemical impulses to the auditory nerve, which transmits them to the brain for translation. When these delicate hairs in your inner ear are damaged or destroyed, they do not regenerate. This is why sensorineural hearing loss is commonly a result of the natural process of aging. Things like exposure to loud noise, specific medications, and underlying health conditions can also bring about sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

You may hear a little better if people speak louder to you, but it isn’t going to comprehensively deal with your hearing loss issues. Specific sounds, such as consonant sounds, can be difficult to hear for individuals who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss. Even though people around them are talking clearly, somebody with this condition may think that everyone is mumbling.

The pitch of consonant sounds make them difficult to hear for somebody dealing with hearing loss. Pitch is measured in hertz (Hz), and the majority of consonants register in our ears at a higher pitch than other sounds. Depending on the voice of the person talking, a short “o”, for instance, will register between 250 and 1,000 hertz. Conversely, consonants such as “f” and “s” register at 1,500 to 6,000 Hz. Because of damage to the inner ear, these higher pitches are hard 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 speaks louder if you don’t hear some of the letters in a word like “shift”.

How Can Wearing Hearing Aids Help With This?

Hearing Aids go in your ears helping sound reach your auditory system more directly and eliminating some of the outside sound you would normally hear. Hearing aids also help you by amplifying the frequencies you’re unable to hear and balancing that with the frequencies you are able to hear. This makes what you hear a lot more clear. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to hear speech by blocking some of the unwanted background noise.

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