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Facts About Hearing Loss

Life is enriched by the experiences we have through our five senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. Together, our senses enable us to learn and enjoy life. Hearing is especially vital; it enables us to communicate our wants, needs, and emotions.

You cannot reverse hearing loss or eliminate all Sound Voids™. However, your audiologist can apply the appropriate care and technology to lessen their effects and improve the quality of sounds you hear. Unfortunately, many people suffering from a hearing loss are either unaware or ashamed of their condition and do not utilize the available advanced technology.

Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Mixed Hearing Loss

Defining Sound

The loudness of sound is measured in decibels. Pitch is measured in frequency of sound vibrations per second. A deep voice has a low pitch and frequency, whereas a child’s voice has a high pitch and frequency.

High-Frequency Hearing Loss

In the first stages of hearing impairment, high frequencies are usually lost first. Therefore, difficulty hearing or understanding high-pitched voices of women and children is one of the first symptoms. It is important to recognize that hearing someone and understanding them are two different things. High-frequency hearing loss distorts sound, which makes speech difficult to understand even if it can be heard.

People with hearing loss often have difficulty differentiating words that sound alike, especially words that contain S, F, SH, CH, H, TH, T, K or soft C sounds. These consonants are in a much higher frequency range than vowels and other consonants.

Degree of Hearing Loss

There are five levels or degrees of hearing loss. A person with normal hearing can perceive very soft sounds, whereas a person with a profound loss can only perceive sounds louder than 90 dB.

Prevention

Avoiding loud noise may help prevent premature hearing loss and the perception of Sound Voids.

  • Do I have difficulty talking or hearing others talk over the sound?
  • Does the sound make your ears hurt?
  • Do my ears ring after hearing the sound?
  • Do other sounds seem muffled after exposure?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, the noise may be damaging your hearing. Most people don’t realize how loud everyday sounds actually are. Sounds above 85 dB are harmful depending on how long and how often you are exposed to them. The louder a sound is, the lower the amount of exposure is required to cause damage. If used properly, hearing protection devices can reduce the loudness of sound reaching the ears.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hearing loss is a puzzle that our professionals love to solve, and it is based on your individual experiences, lifestyle, and severity of impairment. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment method for hearing loss — it’s based on the sounds that you can’t hear, which vary greatly, and the sounds that you want to be able to hear. A quality hearing system from a reputable manufacturer isn’t effective until an experienced, qualified hearing care professional programs the technology properly based on your unique hearing needs.
Research has established a relationship between hearing loss and dementia. There is strong evidence that hearing loss accelerates brain-tissue atrophy, particularly in areas of the brain that auditory nerves would stimulate but can’t because they aren’t receiving a signal (due to a hearing loss). These areas of the brain are also related to memory and speech. Individuals with a mild hearing loss are three times as likely to fall down than those without, and the likelihood of falls increases as degree of hearing loss increases. Hearing loss has also been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sickle-cell anemia, and other circulatory conditions.
Since hearing loss is cumulative, hearing loss begins as an infant and continues throughout life. Most individuals don’t begin to experience symptoms until their late 20s or early 30s, and by age 45 a yearly hearing check becomes of greater importance. One-third of people beyond the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss, however mild or severe, and that share of the elderly population increases as they age.
Unfortunately, many forms of hearing loss are permanent because there is no cure. Treatment methods that feature amplification fit to your specific hearing loss by a hearing care professional typically have the highest user satisfaction for improved hearing and improved quality of life.
Protecting your hearing from noise levels greater than 85 decibels at work and during leisurely activities will greatly reduce your chances of noise-induced hearing loss. Many manufacturing jobs require hearing protection in loud environments, but hearing protection is also recommended while ATV riding, hunting, attending concerts and sporting events, and playing music — all situations where your hearing is vulnerable.
Though it is difficult to say what genetic factors predispose individuals to hearing loss, there seems to be a connection. Some genetic disorders present at birth cause a hearing loss, but in the absence of a disease, hearing loss can still have a basis in your genetics.
See your physician immediately; sudden hearing loss is considered a medical emergency. Sudden hearing loss typically resolves on its own within two weeks, but it might not — meaning your hearing might be gone for good. Seeking medical assistance within 72 hours of the onset of sudden hearing loss greatly improves the chances that your hearing will recover.