high-pitched sounds in hearing loss

Trouble Hearing High-Pitched Sounds with Hearing Loss

by | Jan 15, 2020 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Hearing loss is often depicted by people shouting to be heard and having to repeat yourself constantly. In reality, in many cases, those with a hearing loss can hear a wide range of sounds but have trouble hearing sounds in certain pitches.

Those with a hearing loss often have trouble hearing sound levels that are in the higher range of pitch. This includes the sound of children, birds, and women with high-pitched voices. This is actually quite common when it comes to hearing loss.

Soft Sounds and Vowels

Being unable to hear soft sounds in higher pitches can lead to frustrating conversations, since you are able to hear most of what is being said but are still unable to follow the conversation because the consonant sounds are harder to hear. These include softer sounds, such as t, s, c, f, h, and k. Vowels are much easier to pick up, since they are often louder and said more clearly, while the consonants may sound rather muffled and indistinct.

High Frequency Hearing Damage

People with high frequency hearing damage often report having trouble hearing children, since their voices are much higher in pitch. Sound levels that fall between 2000 Hz or higher are indistinct to those who have this form of hearing loss. This can result in difficulty hearing the sound of higher notes in musical melodies, sirens, the chirping of birds, or the tinkling laughter of a child.

Those who have trouble hearing high pitches tend to have a relatively easier time hearing low-frequency sound levels, including bass levels of music, thunder, trumpets, drums, and the deep voices of men.

Believe it or not, having trouble hearing high-pitched sounds is the most frequently diagnosed form of hearing loss. Certain health conditions may result in this form of hearing loss, such as heart disease or diabetes. Even certain medications may cause this type of hearing damage.

When it comes to our hearing, we rely on delicate hair follicles within the inner ear. These delicate hair follicles get damaged and die with age and the daily wear and tear of life. The first to die out are the cells that are responsible for high-frequency hearing. This is why our ability to hear higher pitch levels tends to deteriorate before the rest of our hearing.

Protect Your Ears

No matter what type of hearing you have damaged or regular it is important to protect your ears from the ravages of time and noise pollution. You can do so by engaging in regular auditory protection through the use of earplugs or earmuffs. This can help protect you from unsafe levels of noise while keeping your hearing intact. Always wear earplugs before exposing yourself to loud noises, and remember to turn down the volume and put on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while listening to your personal audio device. A few precautions now can help preserve your hearing for all your days to come.

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Dr. Joshua Luekenga, Au.D., F-AAA, CCC-A, Audiologist

Dr. Joshua Luekenga is an audiologist and founder of The Utah Ear Institute which is comprised of 5 comprehensive clinics throughout Utah and Wyoming. He specializes in vestibular and balance diagnostics. He also evaluates and treats hearing disorders, Tinnitus, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), Misophonia and Hyperacusis.

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