A high-frequency hearing loss is a loss when you are unable to hear sounds that occur in the higher end of frequencies, meaning 2,000 Hz or higher. These sounds are also referred to as high-pitched sounds. This type of hearing loss is the most common and the sneakiest type to detect.
Why do we say it is sneaky? Because in some situations you can hear just fine. When you do, then you think, “Oh, my mind was just playing tricks on me.” Then, inevitably, in a different situation, you struggle to understand again, and you wonder, “What is going on?”
People with a high-frequency hearing loss may have trouble understanding female and children’s voices. They may experience difficulties hearing birds singing or treble sounds when listing to music. It also makes it difficult to hear conversations in larger groups, noisy places or places with background noise.
People with high-frequency hearing loss may also struggle to understand normal speech, because they can have problems distinguishing the voiceless consonants, which represent half of all the consonant sounds. “Did he say chief or cheek?” “Did she say cheap or sheep?”
There are many causes of high-frequency hearing loss. These include aging, exposure to loud noise, infections, diseases and genetics. This loss is typically a sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear that receives the sounds and convert them to signals that are transmitted to the brain by the auditory nerves.
High-frequency hearing loss can be identified through a hearing test and is normally treated with hearing aids. If you think that you have a high-frequency hearing loss, contact your family doctor or a hearing care professional.
Angelo Darby, MA, LHAS is the director at Renaissance Hearing Center in Wildwood. He can be reached at 352-461-0219.