Understanding and Managing Low-Frequency Hearing Loss

Hearing loss might not be a fatal health ailment but affects around one in six individuals in Australia.

From daily communication to mental health, professional life and personal relationships, hearing impairment of any degree can take a toll on your life. No matter the extent and type, hiding or ignoring your hearing disability will only make life difficult for you and people around you. So, it is important to identify the type of hearing loss you’re suffering from and find a suitable treatment for your condition.

hearing-aid-1490115_960_720

Hearing loss is classified into different types based on the severity, time of occurrence and frequency. In this article, we will be discussing low-frequency hearing loss which is often related to conductive hearing loss occurring with some degree of inner or outer ear problem.

What is low-frequency hearing loss?

Low frequency hearing loss, also known as reverse slope audiogram, is the hearing impairment that occurs when inner ear hair cells get damaged. The role of hair cells in the inner ear is to detect and pass it through the auditory nerve to the brain.

An individual suffering from this type of hearing loss will not able to hear sounds with frequencies 2000 HZ or below. However, a person with low frequency hearing loss may still hear high-frequency sounds and thus is able to still communicate better as compared to people with high-degree hearing loss.

What causes low-frequency hearing loss?

A mutation in the Wolfram Syndrome Gene (WFS1) is the most common cause of low-frequency hearing loss. Some other causes of low frequency hearing loss include:

  • Mondini Dysplasia, a malformation in the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s Disease, a disorder of the inner ear causing a feeling of congestion in the ear.
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Renal failure
  • Viral infections
  • Rapid changed in pressure

Why is low-frequency hearing loss difficult to diagnose?

A person with low-frequency hearing loss may not detect the problem easily unless the person undergoes regular hearing tests. This is because the condition manifests no significant symptoms.

The major reason behind being symptom-free is that the low frequency sounds are intense and do not carry as much information as sounds in higher frequencies. So, a person with hearing in moderate and high frequencies can make up for what they are unable to hear in low frequencies, thus concealing their hearing loss.

In addition, a person with low frequency hearing loss usually exhibits no signs of missing speech sounds or abnormal speech production patterns as they develop speech and language just like people with normal hearing.

However, low frequency hearing loss may be manifested in a noisy environment or when the person is conversing in a group. If you already have a family history of hearing loss, we recommend you visit your audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation instead of just relying on free hearing tests. The earlier you seek professional assistance and care for your hearing condition, the lesser the impact of hearing loss on your life.

How can low-frequency hearing loss be treated?

hearing-assessments

Once you are diagnosed with low-frequency hearing loss and have assessed the severity of your condition, your audiologist will discuss with you the best course of treatment for your problem.

Treatment may not be necessary in minor cases. However, in severe degree of low frequency hearing loss, your audiologist may suggest hearing aids with noise reduction and sound amplification features that can improve your hearing in noisy background and amplify low frequency sounds that are difficult for you to hear. Moreover, you can get all the information regarding your hearing device like how you can adjust settings, how to take care of your hearing aid batteries and the device etc. from your audiologist.

Though a low frequency hearing loss may not cause as much problem as complete hearing loss, if you suspect you are suffering from this condition, you must get your hearing evaluated immediately. Early detection of hearing loss of any kind can help you seek necessary care and treatment while improving your quality of life.

Advertisements

HEARING CARE TIPS: PROTECTING YOUR EARS IN A NOISY WORKPLACE

Hearing loss is a part of growing older for most people and can’t be prevented. However, the other form of hearing loss which is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, can be avoided with a little consideration and care.

Of all the physical health ailments faced by factory workers, hearing issues remain the most common. In fact, an estimated 1 billion workers in Australia are exposed to hazardous levels of noise at work.

Though people working in manufacturing factories or construction sites may get used to the loud and invasive noise over time, continuous exposure to the dangerous levels of noises while working in such environments can impair the quality of your hearing or lead to hearing loss.

hearing-aid-1490115_960_720

That said, stated below are some hearing protection tips for people exposed to a noisy work environment.

Carry your hearing protection to work daily

If loud noises are a regular occurrence at your workplace, equip yourself with specialised industrial earplugs or ear muffs to protect your hearing.

If you already have a hearing loss or are at risk of it, it is advisable to consult with a hearing professional to find a high quality, effective hearing protection solution that fits your work environment and your specific needs.

When it comes to hearing protection, there is a diverse range of assistive hearing devices out there including in-the-canal (ITC), in-the-ear, behind-the-ear and invisible hearing aids. Your hearing specialist will help you find the right solution based on the degree and type of your hearing loss and your workplace setting.

Get your hearing tested regularly

Factory and industry workers are always advised to visit their hearing specialist for regular hearing checks to assess their hearing.

Even if you don’t incur any potent signs indicating that your hearing is impaired, you want to consider having your hearing tested by a professional once in a while.

The earlier hearing issues are detected, the easier it is to control damage and prevent the condition from getting worse.

Be careful with listening to music

Many workers avoid ear plugs and put on iPods or other music devices to drown out loud noises in the background. This hearing protection practice can actually backfire.

Instead of listening to your favourite tunes through headphones or earphones at high volume to cover up the background noise, use noise-cancelling earphones, which reduce the overall strain on your hearing due to loud noise.

Do not insert anything inside your canal

Many factory workers stick cotton swabs or stick-like object into their ears to avoid loud noise without knowing that it can damage their hearing instead of protecting it.

Sometimes, such objects can go too far into the canal and puncture your ear drum or may create a build-up of ear wax and debris by pushing them further inside your canal. So, avoid putting anything in your canal and use only a protection suggested by your hearing professional.

hearing-assessments-2

Remember that damage from noise-induced hearing impairment can’t be reversed. Adhere to the above-mentioned guidelines to protect your hearing in a noisy workplace and communicate and engage fully in your life.

Don’t Fake that You Can Hear; Accept Your Hearing Loss

Coping with a little hearing impairment seems a lot easier than something significant like vision impairment. That said, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many people with impaired hearing choose to hide their condition.

But let’s get it clear. Though people may manage to get by a partial inability to hear without being open about their problem, hearing loss doesn’t necessarily have to be severe or profound to affect one’s life.

If overlooked or left untreated, even a mild hearing loss can impact on your day-to-day life, professional career, relationships and most importantly mental health.

hearing-assessments

Hiding is not worth it

Asking someone to repeat themselves once or twice while talking over the phone might not seem like a big deal. Neither might be missing out on a few words in a family conversation.

But you can’t overlook significant consequences like low self-esteem, depression and affected job performance and relationships, which hearing loss contribute to over time.

Ask yourself, “Is hiding your hearing condition worth missing your favourite music and sounds or isolating yourself from people and social world?” “Is putting off getting your hearing treated worth the negative impact it leaves on the quality of life?”

NO.

Most people who stress about the stigma associated with hearing impairment and hearing aids, fail to realise that untreated hearing loss is actually more noticeable than hearing aids.

If you respond inappropriately in a conversation or miss a punch line of a joke, people might suspect your attention span, mental acuity or your ability to communicate effectively. The symptoms of hearing loss combined with consequences of “untreated hearing loss” can be life altering.

Acceptance is the first step toward improving your hearing

While you can’t completely restore your natural hearing ability with hearing aids, there are several hearing loss solutions that can significantly improve your hearing and quality of life.

But to benefit from a hearing solution, you need to first accept your condition.  Here’s how to accept your hearing loss.

A: Allow yourself to recognise the loss of hearing and the consequences you’re dealing with.

C: Communicate to others about your problem to seek their support and assistance.  

C: Commit to improving your quality of life by getting your hearing assessed and finding the right hearing solution.

E: Explore different practices and exercises to boost your hearing abilities.  

P: Partner with hearing loss community and interact with other people with hearing impairment.  

T: Treat your condition. There are several choices when it comes to hearing aids such as Phonak, Starkey and Siemens hearing aids. To seek the optimal solution and expert assistance and advice, turn to an experienced audiologist.

A: Assist yourself. Let people you meet for the first time know you have a hearing problem. Remind them to be a bit louder and face you when speaking to you. Make a strategic seating arrangement for yourself when visiting a restaurant or someone’s house.

N: Never pull yourself away from social gatherings and activities because of your hearing loss or hearing aids. Most people get supportive once you tell them about your problem.

C: Connect with your hearing professional if you feel any discomfort while wearing your hearing aids.

E: Expect difficulties along the way even with your hearing solution. Keep a positive attitude towards difficulties to drive a seamless hearing experience.

hearing-assessments-2

If you’re dealing with a hearing loss, don’t wait. Get your hearing treated today!

 

How to Make the Most Out of Your Holidays with Hearing Loss

Holidays are about family gathering, dinners and parties. But for the hearing impaired, it can be the most stressful and challenging time of the year.

Typically, any festive ambience would have a noisy background that can create challenging listening situations for the hearing impaired.

However, with the following tips, you can make your holidays less demanding and more pleasurable.

Owned-independent-South-Australian-business

Be strategic with your seating arrangement

When at a holiday event you can expect the noise levels to be very high, making it difficult to communicate. To facilitate your hearing:

  • Try to sit at the end of the table so you don’t have to focus on multiple group conversations going on either side of you and can enjoy your conversation as well as meal.
  • When in home, try to avoid the kitchen area and spaces near the TV while in a restaurant setting, sit away from the bar or kitchen.
  • Always try to pick a corner or a booth when a loud music is playing in the background.
  • Move to a quiet spot in the house if you think the background is too overwhelming to carry out a one-on-one conversation with an individual.
  • When going out to attend a party, arrive early to find a spot from where you can see people’s faces and interpret their facial expressions and cues.

How about a holiday buddy?

Having a companion to accompany you to a holiday gathering or party can help you keep up in conversation and have an enjoyable experience.

  • If you are at a sit-down dinner, buddy up with a family member who you share a good bond with.
  • Make sure you pick someone whose speech is clear and easy for you to understand in a loud setting.

Additional Considerations

  • Don’t be shy about your condition. Remind your family, friends and new people you interact with that you have a hearing difficulty. They will try to be more attentive when you speak and speak in a way that helps you understand easily.
  • Notify your host of your hearing and seating arrangement needs which will make it convenient for your to socialise.
  • Though you are certain to have a music playing on in a holiday setting, don’t hesitate to ask your host to turn the volume down during your meal so that you can enjoy conversations on the table better.
  • Schedule an appointment with one of the Adelaide Hearing providers to get your hearing aid checked. A professional will assess everything from your hearing aid batteries to device settings to optimise your hearing aid for the best holiday hearing experience.

hearing-assessments

Don’t let another holiday season be affected by your hearing loss. Follow these considerations and tips to get the most out of your hearing and make a holiday experience to cherish for a lifetime.

Hearing Care for Children: Things You Can Do to Protect Your Child’s Hearing

With noise-induced hearing impairment or loss growing particularly among children and young adults, hearing care for children has become a growing concern for parents.

Highlighted below are some useful tips and advice from experts for parents to help their children take good care of their hearing and avoid hearing loss and its harmful symptoms.

Educate how a noisy environment affects your hearing

Teach your kids how their activities today can affect their hearing later.

  • Encourage use of hearing protection in noisy environments
  • Ask your child to wear foam earplugs or decibel lowering earmuffs in case of prolonged noise exposure.
  • When attending an exceptionally noisy environment, have your child wearing both for enhanced hearing protection.

Besides, it would be quite helpful to set a good example for your children by taking care of your own ears. Seeing you wearing hearing protectors wherever required, you kids will realise how important it is to protect their ears. Not only will this help your children be less resistant to hearing protectors, but it will also help protect your own hearing.

Hearing Assessment

Reduce noise exposure

Noise-induced hearing loss isn’t acquired overnight. Constant or prolonged exposure to noisy environments can cause permanent damage to one’s hearing.

  • Set volume limits on varied devices you children regularly use such as TV, tablet, computer, tablet, gaming system and more.
  • Also, restrict the prolonged use of Mp3 players and music systems.

In case your child must use such devices frequently, do invest in quality devices that meet general safety standards.

Hearing Assessment

Collaborate with school

Teachers and administrators can play a vital role in protecting children’s hearing at school.

With strategic classroom seating arrangements, closed captioning, loop systems, and hearing education, school administration can help children hear their best during the school day.

Teachers at school can also help identify signs of hearing impairment early to prevent further damage and provide the required child with optimal care.

Besides these guidelines, it is important to take not just your children but the entire family for professional hearing assessments. Some audiology facilities in Australia offer free hearing tests to help people have their hearing checked and get access to good hearing care before it’s too late.

 

 

 

Troubleshooting Essentials Every Hearing Aid User Should Be Aware Of

“My hearing aids don’t aren’t clear or loud enough.”

“My device is whistling.”

“I’m getting unclear, distorted sounds from my device.”

“My hearing aid is performing inconsistently.”

If you use an assisted hearing device, you might expect to be faced with such concerns or any other issues related to the function or performance of your device at some point of time.

In general, the very first thing that comes to your mind when you’re bothered by the function of your hearing aid is to call your audiologist for an appointment.   Continue reading “Troubleshooting Essentials Every Hearing Aid User Should Be Aware Of”

Improving the Life of a Hearing Impaired Child at School

Hearing loss can put a school age child in a completely challenging situation. Performing classroom activities, learning new things, communicating with teachers and other children in class can be far more difficult for a hearing impaired child than other kids.

However, with the right support system and a well-though out education plan, the affected child can not only learn things without difficulties but excel in school.

Here are a few things that will make sure your child thrive at school despite his/her hearing impairment. Continue reading “Improving the Life of a Hearing Impaired Child at School”