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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Why Do We Hear Things Differently Underwater?

Why Do We Hear Things Differently Underwater
Likely, when you have been swimming in a pool, lake, or ocean, you have noticed that things sound different. No need to call Hearing & Balance Doctors just yet, that’s not just because your ears are full of water—sound simply operates differently in water than in open air.

Sound Travels Differently In Water

Sound waves travel by vibration. As a particle is struck, it vibrates, and the sound continues on until the vibrations are too weak to keep traveling, and the sound runs out of energy. In the air, there aren’t nearly as many particles to strike as there is in the water.

Take a water bottle filled with water and a bottle that is only air. In the water bottle, there will be 800 times more particles for sound to strike than there are in the bottle of air. So, with the greater particle density in water, sounds can travel much faster and for longer.

But just because the sound travels faster, that doesn’t mean we will hear it faster. The human ear is designed to perceive sounds in the open air, not water. When it comes to sound, the vibrations that strike our eardrum and are transmitted to our inner ear, then to the brain, don’t happen in water. Instead, in water, the sound vibrations skip the eardrum, making sound perception difficult to impossible.

What To Do If Your Hearing Is Always Off

Now, it is one thing to hear differently when you are underwater or still draining water from your ears. But if you have noticed that your hearing is constantly a bit off, it may be time to visit with your local doctors of audiology for hearing help. Some of the services you may want to consider are:

  • In-depth hearing evaluation – Hearing loss is usually a progressive issue, so by the time you notice that your hearing has been impacted, it is important to address the issue. With an in-depth hearing evaluation from one of our doctors of audiology, your hearing will be checked using various tests to help assess if there is an issue or existing blockage.
  • Hearing aids – If hearing loss is found during your hearing evaluation, our audiologists can work with you to find the right hearing aids for your needs. We have hundreds of hearing aids to help accommodate all budgets, hearing loss levels, and lifestyle needs, so you can be sure to find ones that will work best for you.
  • Cerumen removal – Sometimes, water can become trapped due to a buildup of cerumen (earwax). This trapped water can be painful and encourage bacterial growth, leading to an even more excruciating ear infection. To help fix the issue, our audiologists can remove your built-up cerumen in-clinic.
  • Tinnitus evaluation and treatment – Constant ringing in the ear or another monotone, inescapable sounds—such as buzzing, clicking, roaring, static, etc.—can trigger tinnitus by the pressure change of being underwater. Our doctors of audiology can evaluate your tinnitus and develop a progressive tinnitus management plan with you to help treat the condition.

If you would like a hearing evaluation or need other hearing services, feel free to contact us today to schedule your appointment with our doctors of audiology.

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