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What is high-frequency hearing loss?

 Hearing loss varies by degree and type, but high-frequency hearing loss is one of the most common. Hearing professionals define high-frequency hearing loss as hearing loss that occurs between 2000 Hertz (Hz) and 8000 Hertz. Decreased hearing in this range is often the first sign of hearing loss.

After you get a hearing test, your hearing professional will explain your test results using an audiogram. An audiogram is a graph that shows how well you hear at each frequency, which is important for speech understanding. The audiogram will show hearing within the range of normal, from 250 Hz to 1500 Hz, with results falling outside of the normal hearing range around 2000 Hz.

Difficulty understanding speech

High-frequency hearing loss makes it challenging to understand speech in noise, and the voices of women and children, which are often higher in pitch than men. It can also be difficult to hear sounds like birds chirping, the doorbell ringing or voices over the telephone.

Frictive sounds like S, H and F are high in pitch, which is why high frequencies help with speech understanding. Tiny hair cells inside the cochlea process incoming sounds. High-frequency sounds are processed at the base of the cochlea, while low-frequency sounds are processed near the top. The hair cells at the base are more susceptible to damage, which is why hearing loss often affects high frequencies before low frequencies.

Noise, age, medications, and disease are all factors that can damage hair cells. Age-related hearing loss and noise induced hearing loss often affect the high frequencies first.

 How hearing aids can help

Hearing aids are an effective treatment for high-frequency hearing loss. There are many different options available to help correct your hearing, such as open fit hearing aids and custom hearing aids with large vents that will maximize normal hearing in the low and mid-frequency ranges and amplify the high-frequency hearing affected by hearing loss. For more information, call Evolution Hearing in Charlottesville, VA at 434-260-8007 or our Raleigh, NC location at 919-670-3258, so we can help improve your quality of life.