Hearing loss affects our ability to hear sounds at different frequencies. People who develop hearing loss often struggle to hear higher-pitched sounds the most. However, less commonly, others have what is known as low-frequency hearing loss.
What Does It Mean to Have Low-Frequency Hearing Loss?
If you have low-frequency hearing loss, you struggle to hear lower-pitched sounds while having no problem with high-pitched sounds. The condition is also commonly referred to as reverse-slope hearing loss because of the way it looks when plotted on your audiogram. An audiogram is a graph or chart showing your hearing test results. Those with low-frequency hearing loss will have results that reverse from low to high, hence the nickname.
How Common is It?
Low-frequency hearing loss is one of the rarer forms of hearing loss. There are several known causes and conditions that can put you more at risk. It can be genetic or occur due to an illness in childhood. Additionally, The National Library of Medicine states that “Meniere’s disease, autoimmune-mediated inner ear disease, and steeply sloping hearing loss in the ipsilateral ear are risk factors” for developing low-frequency hearing loss.
Another known cause is otosclerosis, which is a bone growth in the middle ear that blocks sound to the inner ear and makes hearing lower frequencies difficult.
Signs That You Have Reverse Slope Hearing Loss
If you have reverse slope or low-frequency hearing loss, you may find it difficult to hear some or all of the following sounds:
- The rumbling of car, truck or plane engines
- Bass sounds when listening to music
- The humming of a refrigerator
- Men’s voices
- Consonant sounds in speech
Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Low-Frequency Hearing Loss
Because it’s rare, people with this type of hearing loss may have a harder time getting a diagnosis than those with more traditional symptoms. However, a qualified audiologist will be able to take note of your symptoms and calibrate hearing tests to pick up the reverse slope pattern, leading to a diagnosis.
If your symptoms are caused by otosclerosis or another blockage, removal of that blockage can return your hearing to normal. If your hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids programmed to amplify lower-frequency sounds can help improve your listening experience and make identifying sounds and speech easier.
If you’ve noticed problems with hearing at lower frequencies, whether at work, at home or when spending time with friends at Clarklewis Restaurant, call Mt. Hood ENT & Allergy to schedule an appointment with one of our experts today.