High-Frequency Hearing Loss – What You Need to Know

Studies have shown that high-frequency hearing loss is more common in teenagers than it was 20 years ago (an increase of 4%). This may not come as a surprise to some, as the growth of personal listening devices has contributed to the problem.

Causes of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

The most common cause of high-frequency loss is lengthened exposure to loud noise. This generally includes noise level over 85 decibels – such as lawn mowers, large sound systems, personal listening devices (iPods), chainsaws, and more.

If one was to prevent noise-induced high-frequency hearing loss they’d need to A) avoid situations where loud noise is present; or B) restrict the length of their exposure to loud noise.

Here’s an informative chart from Galen Carol audio which illustrates the OSHA daily permissible noise level exposure.

Other causes of high-frequency hearing loss can include:

  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Infections and diseases
  • Otitis media (middle ear inflammation)

Symptoms of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Bad cases of high-frequency hearing loss can start at a frequency of 1000 Hz and then slope down from there (to frequencies above 1000 Hz, not below). This is unfortunate as common consonants such as S, H, F, T, and P, which lie in the higher ranges, become harder to identify in everyday conversation.

Not only that, but it becomes almost impossible to understand conversation when there’s background noise. This means talking in groups can be an absolute nightmare.

Tinnitus can be another symptom of high-frequency hearing loss.

How to Manage it?

It’s all well and good to try and prevent high-frequency hearing loss by reducing your exposure to loud noises and the likes, but what if it’s too late? What if you already have high-frequency hearing loss?

Not all is lost (pun intended). Fortunately, hearing aids can be a great help for those with high-frequency hearing loss. Some hearing aids can take high-frequency sounds and lower them by use of frequency transposition or nonlinear frequency compression.

Aside from that, learning sign language and especially lip-reading may prove beneficial. High-frequency sounds are some of the most visible sounds on a person’s lips.

Do you have high-frequency hearing loss? Take a look at our range of products for the deaf and hard of hearing.


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