Hearing Health Blog

Woman talking with her granddaughter at a pier now that she is not suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

Hearing loss is not simply about volume, it’s about pitch. If it’s hard to understand the speech of a woman or a child, but you can still, mostly understand the men in the room, you could have some degree of high-frequency hearing loss. You’re not alone…this is the most common kind of hearing loss.

Warning Signs of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

With high-frequency hearing loss, consonant sounds that make conversations understandable, get muddled even though you might still be able to pick up on the volume of a woman or a child’s voice. Normally the hardest to differentiate are consonant sounds like ch, th, t, soft s, c, sh, k, f, and h. Even though a woman or a child is not mumbling, it may sound like they are. Understanding a child’s joke or a family member’s question about dinner plans becomes very difficult because you have lost the ability to differentiate these sounds. This can lead to frustration, despair and social isolation from your circle of family and friends.

People who have high-frequency hearing loss also don’t hear other sounds falling within the high-frequency range (2000 Hz and higher). This includes birds chirping, high musical notes, sirens or squeaks. Low-frequency sounds like bass musical notes, the rumble of thunder or a man’s voice might still be relatively easy to discern, even if the volume isn’t that loud.

Reasons For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

As the most widespread type of hearing loss, high-frequency hearing loss can sneak up on people as they grow older, often imperceptibly in the beginning. Apart from aging, too much noise exposure, certain medications and a variety of medical problems including cardiovascular disease can result in high-frequency hearing loss.

These scenarios all harm to the tiny, hair-like sensory cells inside the cochlea. It’s these tiny cells that receive sound input and send it to the brain for processing. The higher pitched sounds are commonly the first to be difficult to understand because the high-frequency cells get injured more easily than the lower pitched cells.

high-frequency Hearing Loss, How to Avoid it

Even though you can’t prevent your ears from getting older, there are several things you can do to stop or at least slow the progression of high-frequency hearing loss. Including these:

  • Quieter things are better. Pick the quietest model by examining the noise rating of the appliances. If it’s difficult to hear your friends at dinner, don’t be hesitant to ask the manager to turn the music down.
  • If you take any medication, ask your doctor if it has any impact on hearing. high-frequency hearing loss can be caused by at least 200 different kinds of medications. Your hearing can even be harmed by too much aspirin. Check with your doctor to find out if there are choices less likely to injure your hearing. If you can’t avoid using a particular medication, keep in close communication with your hearing care specialist for regular hearing loss and balance testing. Additional hearing loss can be avoided by treatment.
  • Caring for your overall health. Smoking can harm your hearing. Your hearing can also be harmed from poor health due to poor nutrition. Try to take good care of your health in all ways and this will protect your hearing as well.
  • Using hearing protection in noisy situations. If you have to shout to be heard in a loud setting, this is a sure indication the noise could hurt your hearing. Heavy traffic, engines revving, power tool sounds, the loud sound systems at movie theaters or live music concerts are all examples of instances when popping in the ear-plugs is a good idea. Noise canceling earphone might not fit inside your pocket, but they are the best solution in some scenarios.
  • Never using a swab (or other small objects) to take out ear wax. This can jam old ear wax into your ear canal and dull your ability to hear. Gently wipe out excess earwax with a cloth after you shower, or ask your hearing care specialist about other ear irrigation techniques for getting rid of earwax without damaging your hearing.

high-frequency Hearing Loss Treatment

At this time, the most effective technique for dealing with high-frequency hearing loss is hearing aids. And there are various designs to choose from because this is the most common kind of hearing loss. So that they are clearer to the listener, hearing aids can increase high pitched sounds. You can immediately address your level and extent of hearing loss by having your hearing care expert fine-tune your hearing aid to increase your ability to hear sounds at the right level. Some hearing aids can be controlled by your phone and include directional microphones for fine-tuning in situations such as business meetings, restaurant dinners, talking on the phone or listening to children.

Make an appointment for a hearing test if you suspect you may have high-frequency hearing loss. If you want to better your ability to hear your grandchild’s priceless one-liner, chances are there are personally tailored solutions for you.

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