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

Hearing loss is about pitch as much as volume. If you find it hard to understand the speech of a woman or a child, but you can still, mostly understand the men in the room, you might have some amount of high-frequency hearing loss. You’re not alone…this is the most prevalent form of hearing loss.

high-frequency Hearing Loss Warning Signs

With high-frequency hearing loss, you may still be able to pick up the volume of a woman’s voice or a child’s voice, but consonant sounds that make conversations easy to understand, get muddled. Usually the hardest to pick up are consonant sounds such as ch, th, t, soft s, c, sh, k, f, and h. So, it may sound like a woman or child is mumbling, even though they aren’t. 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, sadness and social isolation from your circle of family and friends.

People with high-frequency hearing loss also don’t hear other sounds falling within the high-frequency range (2000 Hz and higher). This includes high musical notes, birds chirping, and squeaks or sirens. Even at low volumes a man’s voice, thunder, and bass musical notes, may be fairly easy to discern.

Causes of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

As the most common type of loss of hearing, high-frequency hearing loss can sneak up on people as they age, frequently imperceptibly at first. In addition to aging, excessive noise exposure, some medications and a variety of medical issues such as cardiovascular disease can result in high-frequency hearing loss.

These situations all cause damage to the little, hair-like sensory cells inside the cochlea. It’s these tiny cells that receive sound input and deliver it to the brain for processing. The higher pitched sounds are often the first to become difficult to understand because the high-frequency cells become injured more easily than the lower pitched cells.

How to Prevent High-Frequency Hearing Loss

While you can’t prevent your ears from getting older, there are many things you can do to prevent or at least slow the progress of high-frequency hearing loss. Including these:

  • Looking for quiet things. Pick the quietest product by examining the noise rating of the appliances. And don’t be reluctant to ask the restaurant manager to turn down the music if it’s hard to hear your friends at dinner.
  • Never using a swab (or other small objects) to remove ear wax. This can push old ear wax into your ear canal and blunt your capacity to hear. A hot shower is normally enough o get rid of exes earwax but if this doesn’t work ask your hearing professional for other ways to irrigate your ears.
  • If you use any medication, ask your doctor if it has any effect on hearing. At least 200 different types of medications will cause or worsen high-frequency hearing loss. Even aspirin at high doses can damage your hearing. Check with your doctor to find out if there are choices less likely to harm your hearing. Stay in close contact with your hearing health care provider if you can’t avoid taking a particular medication. Further hearing loss can be prevented by treatment.
  • medication hearing protection in noisy settings.A definite indication that your ears might be getting damaged is if you need to shout to be heard in a noisy location. Heavy traffic, engines revving, power tool sounds, the loud sound systems at movies or rock concerts are all examples of instances when putting in the ear-plugs is a smart idea. Noise canceling headphone might not fit in your pocket, but they are the best choice in certain circumstances.
  • Your health is important so take care of it. Your hearing can be injured by smoking. Poor health, poor nutrition, or lack of exercise can also harm your hearing. Protect your hearing by taking care of your overall health.

Treatment For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

At this time, the most effective strategy for treating high-frequency hearing loss is hearing aids. And there are many designs to choose from because this is the most widespread type of hearing loss. Hearing aids can boost high-pitched sounds so they are crisper to the user. You can immediately manage your level and extent of hearing loss by having your hearing care expert fine-tune your hearing aid to enhance your ability to hear sounds at the right level. Some hearing aids can be controlled by your phone and come with directional microphones for fine-tuning in circumstances like business meetings, restaurant dinners, talking on the phone or listening to children.

If you think that you might have high-frequency hearing loss, make an appointment for a hearing test. Chances are, there are individually-tailored solutions that can enhance your capacity to catch your grandchild’s precious one-liners.

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