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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

Recognizing and Treating Low-Frequency Hearing Loss

When you have a hearing loss, it can greatly affect your everyday life. You are no longer able to share the same meaningful conversations you once shared with loved ones, or participate in social events and work like you could in the past.

Once you are able to identify what type of hearing loss you have, you will have a better idea of what treatment is needed so that you can have your lifestyle back. One type of hearing loss that can be difficult to identify is low-frequency hearing loss, also called reverse-slope hearing loss.

As this type of hearing loss is rare, it can be tough for people to recognize the initial signs of low-frequency hearing loss. To help you determine if this type of hearing loss is affecting you, here are signs of a low-frequency hearing loss as well as how it can be treated by our doctors of audiology here at Hearing & Balance Doctors.

Symptoms of Low-Frequency Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is oftentimes missed because it isn’t associated with many of the common symptoms of hearing loss. Most of the information we receive from the sounds around us occurs in the higher and middle frequencies.

So, as long as the higher ranges of frequency are unimpaired, low-frequency hearing loss can be masked because the person is still able to understand the majority of what they hear.

However, there are some things you can look for that can point to low-frequency hearing loss, such as:

  • Difficulty hearing male voices – A reversal of the more common high-frequency hearing loss, those who struggle with low-frequency hearing loss often have a harder time hearing the voices of men, as they are typically more low-pitched.
  • Struggle to hear clearly on the phone – As phones often deliver low- and middle-frequencies most clearly, those with low-frequency hearing loss can lose the nuances of phone conversations.
  • Unable to hear low-frequency background sounds – There are many environmental low-frequency sounds like the hum of a refrigerator or growl of a dog that may go unnoticed with low-frequency hearing loss. Missing some of these background sounds can be potentially dangerous.

If you suspect you might be suffering from this type of hearing loss, make an appointment with your audiologist to undergo a diagnostic hearing evaluation.

A diagnostic hearing evaluation will determine for sure whether or not you have a low-frequency hearing loss.

How is a Low-Frequency Hearing Loss Caused?

If you think you might be suffering from this type of hearing loss, you are probably wondering how it was acquired. There are various things that may have caused this hearing loss, they include:

  • A mutation of the Wolfram Syndrome Gene or rather the WFS1 gene.
  • Mondini Dysplasia, which is a malformation of the cochlea.
  • Renal failure
  • A rapid change in pressure
  • Viral infection
  • Meniere’s disease, which is a disorder of the inner ear that gives you vertigo and can affect your hearing.
  • Sudden hearing loss, which usually is measured at a loss of 30dB in a time-frame of 72 hours or less.

How To Treat Low-Frequency Hearing Loss

The first step in treating your low-frequency hearing loss is a diagnostic hearing evaluation. This evaluation will help our hearing health care professionals understand the extent of your hearing loss as well as measuring the level of your low-frequency loss.

Once you’ve received a hearing exam and determined the presence of a low-frequency hearing loss as well as its severity, together you and our audiologists will determine the best course of treatment. Should you have a more mild level of low-frequency hearing loss, standard hearing aids can be programmed to help you regain your hearing.

If the hearing loss is severe enough, our audiologists will generally recommend a special type of hearing aid that amplifies the lower frequencies that are difficult for you to hear, while keeping the higher frequencies that you can hear normally the same. These hearing aids are built with multiple microphones, which will likely improve your ability to hear in group settings.

If you think you might be suffering from a low-frequency hearing loss, don’t wait to get your hearing examined. Proper treatment will allow you to restore your hearing and give you back your lifestyle, so contact us today and unlock your full hearing.

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