Not being able to hear high-pitched sounds such as the voices of women and children is one of the most common types of hearing loss. Known as high-frequency hearing loss, this type of loss is usually experienced by adults with age-related hearing loss or from those who were exposed to excessive loud noises.
Understanding this type of hearing loss can help prompt you to seek treatment sooner.
Symptoms of High-Frequency Loss
The most common symptom of this type of hearing loss is hearing muffled-sounding speech. This is because when people speak, many consonants, specifically s, h and f, are spoken in a higher pitch. Talking on the telephone, watching television or even trying to communicate in a noisy environment can be more difficult with high-frequency hearing loss.
You’ll also find it harder to hear women and children, as their voices are usually high-pitched. And forget about hearing the beeping of a device or the chirping of a bird.
Causes of High-Frequency Hearing Loss
This type of loss occurs when the hair cells within your inner ear are damaged. These hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses, which are then sent through the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. There are a number of ways these hair cells can be damaged.
Presbycusis, otherwise known as age-related hearing loss, is a slow and progressive process that affects both your ears. As you age, your body slows down and does not work as well as it used to; the same goes for your inner ear.
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Anything over 85 dB can cause permanent damage to the hair cells within the inner ear. This damage can occur after a one-time exposure to an extremely loud sound such as a gunshot or explosion, or continuous exposure to a loud sound over time.
Like many other aspects of your life, your hearing loss is heavily influenced by your family history. If a close relative developed high-frequency hearing loss, there is a good chance you will too.
Certain drugs are labeled as ototoxic, meaning they can cause damage to your ears. Antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs and even large doses of aspirin have been linked to hearing damage. If you have been prescribed one of these drugs, talk to your doctor. They may be able to switch you to a safer medication.
Treatment for High-Frequency Hearing Loss
While this type of hearing loss is usually permanent, that does not mean there is nothing to be done. Hearing aids are the preferred method of treatment for high-frequency hearing loss. These devices are produced by a number of manufacturers and come in a wide selection of styles.
To learn more about treating your high-frequency hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an experienced audiologist, contact Audiology Center Northwest today.