High-frequency hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss. This inability to listen to high-pitched sounds usually results from irreversible damage to sensory hair cells in the inner ear. It has many causes and can affect people of all ages, so it’s essential that you’re aware of the signs. In this article, you’ll learn what high-frequency hearing loss is, how to know if you have it, and ways to treat and prevent it.
What is high-frequency hearing loss?
People with high-frequency hearing loss struggle to hear high-pitched voices and sounds. They lose the ability to hear some of the most critical higher frequency sounds (between 2,000 and 8,000 Hertz), which is often the first sign of a hearing problem. Although you may hear low-frequency sounds at low volumes, you’ll likely have to increase the volume to listen to high-frequency sounds. In severe hearing loss cases, even cranking up the volume doesn’t help you hear specific frequencies.
Those who suffer from high-frequency hearing loss typically notice that speech seems muffled. You'll find this especially when trying to hear women and children speak. You may also have trouble hearing certain words more than others. Sounds with high-pitched beeping or chirping noises might be missed entirely. Although many high-frequency hearing loss cases are due to age-related hearing loss, it can also be caused by physical injury, genetics, or intense noise exposure.
How do I know if I have high-frequency hearing loss?
When you have high-frequency hearing loss, there are many sounds you can still hear while others will be a challenge. Look for the following signs of a hearing issue, as they may indicate your ears can't pick up higher frequency sounds.
Voices Seem Muffled
Some of the first indications of high-frequency hearing loss have to do with speech. Muffled voices, especially if it’s clear to everyone else, can make it difficult to watch TV or talk on the phone. You may also be unable to hear your wife, sister, daughter, or grandkids because of their higher-pitched voices. Often, it appears as if everyone is mumbling when they speak. People with high-frequency hearing loss often experience what’s called listening fatigue. This type of fatigue happens because it can be exhausting trying to hear and understand. It’s also common for those with hearing issues to have selective hearing, which happens when you can hear some voices better than others.
Words Are Indistinguishable
When someone is talking, various parts of speech have frequencies that are low and high. Vowels are lower in pitch and sound loud when spoken. In contrast, consonants are higher-pitched and sound much softer. Unfortunately, consonants make up the most meaningful parts of speech and help you distinguish one word from another. In particular, words that contain s, f, and h syllables can be a struggle to hear. For example, the words feet, seat, and heat might all sound the same. If you have high-frequency hearing loss, it's tough to keep up with conversations.
Sounds Are Inaudible
Besides having difficulty comprehending speech, there are many other sounds that you can’t hear at all or only when they’re very loud. Those with high-frequency hearing loss commonly cannot hear high-pitched sounds in nature, such as birds singing, crickets chirping, leaves rustling, and rain falling. You may also find that you no longer enjoy listening to music because it may sound too distorted, especially when the volume is turned up. Alarm clocks, kitchen timers, smoke detectors, and other items that have high-frequency beeps are also hard to detect.
If this sounds like what you’re experiencing, you might have high-frequency hearing loss and should get your hearing tested.
What are the treatments for high-frequency hearing loss?
There is no cure for this type of hearing loss, however, there are many different treatments. The most common treatment for high-frequency hearing loss is hearing aids. Even mild forms of hearing loss can be alleviated by wearing hearing aids in your everyday life. Hearing aids also reduce the mental strain it takes when trying to hear higher frequencies. With hearing aids, your brain won’t have to work overtime, so there’s less chance for listening fatigue and communication with your loved ones should improve.
How do I prevent more hearing loss?
While hearing aids will help correct your hearing loss, you’ll still want to protect the hearing you have left. If you’re repeatedly in high noise environments, such as working in construction or using loud yard equipment, you should wear earplugs or industrial earmuffs. Also, it helps if you make a habit of lowering the volume on your headphones or earbuds. Minor changes like this can make a tremendous difference in your hearing health in the long run.
How do I get started with hearing aids?
As the first step to better hearing, it’s a good idea to have your ears checked. You can take the MDHearing free online hearing test from the comfort of your home. All you need is a pair of headphones and less than five minutes of your time. Your results will be immediately available, so you can better understand how well you hear. If you tend to miss the higher tones, that’s a sign you’re dealing with high-frequency hearing loss.
After you’re diagnosed with a hearing loss, our in-house audiologists will recommend the MDHearing device that best meets your specific needs. Our high-quality hearing aids are FDA-registered and come in a range of affordable prices. At MDHearing, we cut out the middleman and ship directly to customers, so savings are passed along to you. If you have a high-frequency hearing loss, getting hearing aids may help.
Think you may have high-frequency hearing loss? Take our quick and easy online hearing test.
TAKE ONLINE HEARING TEST
Interested in learning more about MDHearing? Compare our different hearing aids for yourself.
CHECK THEM OUT