Many people with hearing loss suffer with high-frequency hearing deficits. What does that mean?

This means that there is difficulty understanding speech and hearing certain high-pitched sounds, like chirping birds. During the process of hearing, sound waves cause a vibration through the middle ear bones and the tiny hairs in the cochlea. Frequency is the number of these vibrations that are produced per second, and it is measured in hertz, or Hz. The higher that a sound’s frequency is, the higher its pitch. Hearing range refers to the range of frequencies that people can hear, usually between 20 and 20,000 Hz. The range of human speech is about 300 to 3400 Hz. Some people’s voices have a higher pitch, like women and children. In addition, consonants are higher pitched, than vowels, in speech. With hearing loss, the ability to hear higher frequencies often goes first. Consequently, high-pitched voices, like those of women and children, are harder to hear.

There also can be sound distortion, so that certain words end up sounding alike: like those containing S or F and other easily confused consonants. A person with loss of hearing in the range of high frequencies will not be able to understand speech as well. Loss of hearing develops gradually, and many people don’t notice that they have a hearing problem until after some length of time has passed. As people age, there is often a decline in the range of frequencies that they can hear, frequently the ability to hear higher frequencies is diminished. This loss is often a normal side effect of aging, but it can also be caused by exposure to high levels of noise over time. Many people with this type of hearing loss have successfully managed it with hearing aids. Among individuals with decreased hearing, everyone is unique.

The hearing instrument specialists at Sandia Hearing Center take time and are careful to program and adjust hearing aids to each person’s individual needs. Sandia Hearing Center perform complete hearing tests and can let you know if you have diminished hearing that could benefit from hearing aids. Early intervention for hearing problems is important. Contact Sandia Hearing Center today to find out more at 719-634-6260.