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

Hearing loss isn’t exclusively about volume, it’s also about pitch. If you find it hard to understand the speech of a woman or a child, but you can still, for the most part, understand the men in the room, you might have some degree of high-frequency hearing loss. You’re not alone…this is the most prevalent type of hearing loss.

Warning Signs of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

With high-frequency hearing loss, you might still be able to register the volume of a woman’s voice or a child’s voice, but consonant sounds that make conversations easy to understand, get muddled. Normally, consonant sounds like t, th, ch, soft c, s, sh, f, k, and h are the most difficult to pick out. 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 cause frustration, depression and social isolation from your circle of family and friends.

People who have high-frequency hearing loss also miss other sounds falling within the high-frequency range (2000 Hz and higher). This includes birds chirping, high musical notes, whistles or squeaks. Even at low volumes a man’s voice, thunder, and bass musical notes, might be fairly easy to discern.

Reasons For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Frequently imperceptible in the beginning, high-frequency hearing loss, the most common kind of hearing loss, can sneak up on you as you age. Besides growing older, too much noise exposure, select medications and a variety of medical problems including cardiovascular disease can cause high-frequency hearing loss.

The tiny hair-like sensors within the cochlea are injured by all of these scenarios. It’s these little cells that pick up sound input and send it to the brain for processing. The high-frequency sensory cells are more susceptible to injury than the low-frequency sensory cells, and this is why the higher-pitched sounds are frequently the first to be difficult to understand.

high-frequency Hearing Loss, How to Avoid it

You can take several steps to slow or stop the progress of high-frequency hearing loss even though you can’t stop your ears from growing older. Some of these include:

  • Never using a swab (or other small objects) to get rid of ear wax. Your ability to hear becomes blunted when you jam old earwax against your eardrum. Carefully wash out excessive earwax with a washcloth after you shower, or ask your hearing care specialist about other ear irrigation techniques for eliminating earwax without hurting your hearing.
  • Caring for your general health. Your hearing can be injured by smoking. Poor health, poor nutrition, or lack of exercise can also hurt your hearing. Try to take good care of your health in all ways and this can safeguard your hearing as well.
  • Quieter things are better. Find noise ratings on appliances and select the quietest versions. If it’s difficult to hear your dinner companions, don’t be hesitant to ask the manager to turn the music down.
  • If you use any medication, ask your doctor if it has any effect on hearing. At least 200 different types of medications can cause or worsen high-frequency hearing loss. Your hearing can even be harmed by high doses of aspirin. consult your doctor to determine if there are possibilities less likely to damage your hearing. If you can’t avoid taking a particular medication, stay in close contact with your hearing specialist for regular hearing loss and balance testing. Getting treatment for hearing loss early can help prevent further loss.
  • medication hearing protection in noisy spaces.A sure sign that your ears might be getting injured is if you have to shout to be heard in a loud setting. Some instances of times when wearing ear-plugs are rock concerts, motorcycles revving, power tools running, and a loud stereo. Noise-canceling earphones are also a good solution in certain circumstances, but may not fit inside your pocket as easily as ear-plugs.

Treatment For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

At this time, the most effective strategy for treating high-frequency hearing loss is hearing aids. And because this is the most widespread type of hearing loss, there are many different models a person can choose from. Hearing aids can augment high-pitched sounds so they are crisper to the listener. Many models can be configured and your hearing professional can help fine-tune them to improve your ability to hear those sounds at the correct level, immediately addressing the level and degree of the hearing loss. Many hearing aids can be controlled by your phone and include directional microphones for fine-tuning in circumstances like business meetings, restaurant dinners, talking on the phone or listening to children.

Schedule a hearing test if you think you may have high-frequency hearing loss. Chances are, there are individually-customized answers that can increase your ability to hear your grandchild’s priceless one-liners.

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