We all know of hearing loss and its side effects, but did you know that there are people who technically score within a normal hearing range on their audiogram test, and still have trouble hearing in louder environments? Hidden hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that goes past the audiogram and into the ear. While one-on-one conversations in quiet areas hide the hearing loss, crowded settings with competing sounds or even trying to listen while on the phone may reveal the issue.
When you expose yourself to loud noise, it can not only damage the hair cells in your inner ear, but can also damage the ear’s nerve cells. A hidden hearing loss is caused by noise that has damaged the nerve cells that connect the cochlea in the inner ear to the brain. As the nerve cells are damaged, it becomes more difficult to pick out specific sounds in noisy environments, resulting in the brain receiving less and poorer information from the ear.
Traditional hearing aid devices tend to be unhelpful for those suffering from hidden hearing loss, as they only need aid in certain specific situations and only require amplification on certain sounds. A hearing aid is extremely helpful for standard hearing loss, but an amplifier that is only intended to be worn from time-to-time is sufficient for those with hidden hearing loss.
Hidden hearing loss can easily lead to greater problems over time and with increased noise exposure, if left untreated, it can lead to permanent hearing problems such as tinnitus, ringing in the ear, or hyperacusis, over sensitivity to sound.
If you suspect you may have a hidden hearing loss, come visit us Academy Hearing to discuss with us your hearing problems and find out how we can help!