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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 can’t understand conversations even though they are able to hear soft sounds. The reason for this is hearing loss often develops unevenly. Specific frequencies get lost while you can hear others without any problem.

Hearing Loss Comes in Numerous Types

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when the ear has internal mechanical issues. It could be a congenital structural problem or due to an ear infection or excessive wax buildup. In most circumstances, hearing specialists can manage the root condition to improve your hearing, and if required, recommend hearing aids to make up for 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 prevalent. When sound is perceived, it moves these hairs which send chemical messages to the auditory nerve to be passed to the brain for interpretation. When these tiny hairs in your inner ear are injured or destroyed, they do not ever re-grow. This is why the natural aging process is frequently the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Over the course of our lives, sensorineural hearing loss develops because we expose ourselves to loud noise, have underlying health issues, and take certain medications.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

Requesting that people speak up when they talk to you will help to some degree, but it won’t solve your hearing issues. Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss have difficulty hearing certain sounds, including consonants in speech. This may cause somebody with hearing loss to the mistaken conclusion that those around them are mumbling when actually, they are talking clearly.

The pitch of consonant sounds make them hard to hear for somebody dealing with hearing loss. 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 talking. But consonants including “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.

This is why simply speaking louder doesn’t always help. If you can’t hear some of the letters in a word like “shift,” it won’t make much difference how loudly the other person speaks.

How Can Wearing Hearing Aids Help With This?

Hearing Aids fit inside your ears helping sound get into your auditory system more directly and eliminating some of the outside sound you would normally hear. Also, the frequencies you can’t hear are boosted and mixed with the sounds you can hear in a balanced way. This makes what you hear much more clear. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to understand speech by canceling some of the unwanted background noise.

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