Understanding sound can help you to detect changes to your own hearing that might indicate a hearing loss. When you visit Johnson Audiology, we ask questions about your hearing experience and offer you tests to check your range.
Hearing loss is often thought of as being related to the volume of sound. On the contrary, it usually results from a loss of clarity and an inability to pick out different pitches. Distinguishing between sounds is all about hearing different frequencies and how they relate to each other. When your ability to hear the relationship between them breaks down, it can lead to not being able to understand conversations, hear the television, music and other rich sounds.
You are more likely to lose sounds in the higher frequency range before you lose the low tones. This is because the hairs that pick up the high sounds are in the lower part of the cochlea. They are usually the first to go when damage occurs.
The way to check if this is happening is to notice whether you find it harder to hear women and children speak. They usually hit a higher pitch. You may also notice that you can’t hear birds singing or that beeps from your phone sound muffled. Don’t put these down to inevitable changes to your hearing, this is a sign that you have a hearing loss and might need some treatment or support.
If conversations start to sound indistinct to you, it may be because you’re not hearing some of the consonants. We are used to speech sounding like it flows along like a river, that we forget it is made up of lots of different droplets. When some of these start to disappear from your range, all you hear is a babble of sound. This is because the consonants tend to come out at a higher pitch.
Get a friend or relative to help you test for this issue. Write a sentence using each of the following words: almost, she, taste, past. Then write companion sentences using these synonyms: nearly, her, flavor, before. Have them stand on the other side of the room and read each of the first ones, followed by the paired sentence. Which one is easier for you to hear without concentrating? If you are having trouble with the first sentence in each pair, but not the other, it’s an early sign of hearing loss.
Contact your local audiologist
Johnson Audiology has four centers in Tennessee and one in Georgia. A hearing assessment is available to anyone who is concerned they may have a hearing loss. If we find you do have a hearing loss, we can suggest the best treatment and help you on your way to better hearing. Click here to get in touch with us today.
Dr. Megan Johnson is the owner and licensed audiologist at Johnson Audiology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Western Carolina University, a master’s degree in audiology from the University of Tennessee, and her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida.