Hearing loss is typically gradual. So gradual in fact that many people don’t realize they are experiencing it at first. In quiet environments, they might continue to hear just fine, but when they’re out at a dinner party or enjoying Sunday brunch at Herb & Wood, words become harder to distinguish. The mix of several different voices at the table coupled with the background noise that typically accompanies a busy restaurant makes it hard to process what is being said.
If this has happened to you, you might just chalk up your hearing problems to the noisy environment. However, if you are finding that this is happening every time you go out to eat or have group conversations, it might be a sign of high-frequency hearing loss.
What is High-Frequency Hearing Loss?
High-frequency hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss. It is often seen in older adults with age-related hearing loss. It affects your ability to hear high-pitched sounds and can make speech comprehension more difficult, especially in noisy conditions.
A 2017 study tested the ability of 65 hearing loss patients and 11 normal-hearing individuals to comprehend time-compressed (sped up) speech. They found that those with hearing loss had worse speech recognition scores than those with normal hearing and that the ability to recognize speech worsened as the hearing loss became more severe.
Hearing is Not the Same as Understanding
It’s not that you can’t hear the words being spoken to you. You just can’t comprehend what is being said. That’s because the effort required to hear a sound compared to the effort to process that sound is significant.
Have you ever had to turn the music down in your car when you were trying to read street signs? Or found yourself focusing on a task so intently that you realized you hadn’t really followed what was being said on your favorite podcast? This is because your brain can’t process all that information at the same time.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
Hearing aids can help amplify the higher-pitched sounds you struggle to hear. They can help you pick up sound in noisy environments and help your brain process sound. Once you get hearing aids you might even be surprised that you are able to hear sounds you didn’t even realize you were missing.
To learn more about hearing aid options or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact San Diego Hearing Center today.