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

Hearing loss isn’t just about volume, it’s about pitch. It’s likely you have some degree of high-frequency hearing loss if you can understand what the men in the room are saying but you can’t hear children and women. You’re not alone…this is the most prevalent form of hearing loss.

Symptoms of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

With high-frequency hearing loss, you could 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. Normally, consonant sounds such as t, th, ch, soft c, s, sh, f, k, and h are the hardest to pick out. Even though a woman or a child is not mumbling, it might sound that way. Understanding a child’s joke or a family member’s question about dinner plans becomes very difficult because you have lost the ability to distinguish these sounds. This can lead to frustration, depression and social isolation from your circle of family and friends.

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

Reasons For High-Frequency Hearing Loss

As the most widespread type of loss of hearing, high-frequency hearing loss can creep up on people as they get older, usually imperceptibly at first. Besides aging, too much noise exposure, select medications and numerous medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease can cause high-frequency hearing loss.

These scenarios all harm to the little, hair-like sensory cells inside of the cochlea. It’s these tiny cells that pick up sound input and deliver it to the brain for processing. The higher pitched sounds are commonly the first to become hard to understand because the high-frequency cells become injured more easily than the lower pitched cells.

How to Prevent High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Although you can’t stop your ears from aging, there are quite a few steps you can take to stop or at least slow the advancement of high-frequency hearing loss. Including these:

  • Getting quiet things. Select the quietest model by checking the noise rating of the appliances. And don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant manager to turn down the music if it’s hard to hear your dinner companions.
  • Putting in hearing protection in noisy settings.A sure indication that your ears could be getting injured is if you need to shout to be heard in a noisy location. Heavy traffic, engines revving, power tools running, the loud sound systems at movie theaters or live music concerts are all examples of times when popping in the ear-plugs is a good idea. Noise canceling headphone might not fit inside your pocket, but they are the best option in some circumstances.
  • Never using a swab (or other small objects) to remove ear wax. Your ability to hear is blunted when you push old earwax against your eardrum. Carefully clean out excessive earwax with a cloth after you shower, or ask your hearing professional about other ear irrigation techniques for eliminating earwax without damaging your hearing.
  • Caring for your overall 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 aspects and this will protect your hearing as well.
  • If you use any medication, ask your doctor if it has any impact on hearing. At least 200 different varieties of medications can cause or worsen high-frequency hearing loss. Your hearing can even be harmed by too much aspirin. To learn if there are possibilities less likely to harm your hearing, consult your doctor. If you can’t avoid using a particular medication, keep in close communication with your hearing care professional for regular hearing loss and balance testing. Additional hearing loss can be avoided by treatment.

high-frequency Hearing Loss Treatment

Currently, the most effective strategy for managing high-frequency hearing loss is hearing aids. And because this is the most widespread type of hearing loss, there are numerous different designs a person can choose from. So that they are clearer to the listener, hearing aids can boost high pitched sounds. You can directly address 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 manipulated by your phone and come with directional microphones for fine-tuning in situations such as business meetings, restaurant dinners, talking on the phone or listening to children.

If you think that you may have high-frequency hearing loss, schedule a hearing exam. Odds are, there are individually-customized solutions that can improve your ability to catch your grandchild’s precious one-liners.

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