Have you noticed a change in your hearing? Maybe you missed a few words in conversation or turned up the TV volume. If you’ve recently discovered that you have hearing loss, you’ve started to think more about hearing problems. You may be wondering what “normal hearing” means and if there is a way to restore your hearing.
What is “Normal” Hearing?
Frequencies are measured in Hertz (Hz), which represents the vibrations per second that hit our ears. They are then further processed here through the various workstations of the human auditory organ. On average, people hear frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz. The range of 500 to 4,000 Hz is particularly pleasant. This region also includes, for example, human speech or music (depending on the volume).
Sound pressure level
The sound pressure level is measured in decibels (dB) and indicates the pressure of sound waves hitting the eardrum. The higher the value, the louder the sound. The threshold of hearing, i.e. the limit of hearing, is 0 dB. If something is quieter than 0 dB, then people will not notice it at all. A normal conversation is about 50 dB. The pain threshold is about 120 dB – beyond which hearing can be damaged and lead to hearing loss.
Also worth mentioning is a pure tone
Pure tones – like the famous concert pitch – always vibrate at a certain frequency.
What are we not hearing?
Our listening range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz, a range so wide that we can use it to distinguish between about 400,000 tones.
But, of course, there are many frequencies that even a person with very good hearing cannot hear because they are below our hearing threshold. For example, the human ear cannot process ultrasound. These tones remain hidden from us.
In addition, many people suffer from hearing loss. In this case, the affected person will no longer be able to hear well. Most people with hearing loss suffer from age-related hearing loss, but younger people can also be affected by hearing loss.
In the case of age-related hearing loss, the fine hair cells in the inner ear die, which means that particularly high frequencies can no longer be perceived from the beginning. If hearing aids are not provided in time, hearing loss will continue until the human brain forgets how to properly assign tones.
What do animals hear?
Beyond our hearing, humans can’t hear many other tones and noises. In the infrasound range, our ears cannot perceive very deep tones, and in the ultrasound range, our ears cannot perceive particularly high-frequency tones – but some animals can.
Elephants, cows, and insects hear very deep sounds below 16 Hz, and their sound waves travel long distances. At the other end of the scale, there are hedgehogs, bats, and – as leaders – dolphins, whose pitches exceed 100,000 Hz. Thus, they perceive a different frequency range and therefore all hearing thresholds are different from ours. The vocal range of these animals is also localized according to their respective hearing area, which only partially overlaps with the human hearing and sound field.
Dolphins can even hear ears. They use the echoes of clicks (i.e., high-frequency acoustic pulses) to locate the body of a possible attacker or prey. In this way, they can also find and attack small fish by sound. Incidentally, dolphins also have an individual whistle that can be used as an acoustic fingerprint.
Hearing tests measure how much we can still hear. There are many different tests available. Your ear, nose, and throat doctor will perform the most appropriate test to evaluate your or your child’s hearing. The results of these tests can be presented graphically through an audiogram.
Measuring hearing makes it easier to determine what kind of hearing problem you or your child has, so your otolaryngologist can provide you with the best treatment options.
What is the degree of hearing loss?
Distinguish between mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss and hearing loss associated with deafness.
Hearing quiet sounds up to 20 dB HL.
Hearing loss in the better ear is between 25 and 39 dBHL.
You have difficulty understanding speech in noisy situations.
Hearing loss in the better ear is between 40 and 69 dBHL.
You will have difficulty understanding speech without a hearing aid.
Hearing loss in the better ear is between 70 and 89 dBHL.
You need powerful hearing aids or implants.
Caused by hearing loss close to 90 dBHL or higher in the better ear.
They depend on the crosshairs of the lips, sign language, or implants.
Do You Have Hearing Loss?
Hearing impairment (allergy) is a limitation of hearing. It can range from minor impairment to complete hearing loss and can be temporary or permanent. Deafness is commonly spoken of in people who can only hear single sounds or voices or no sounds at all, and today it has become a common habit of deafness.
Hearing is a complex process that involves the perception and processing of sound signals through the ear and the “language translation” of information in the brain. The causes of hearing loss are varied and may be a symptom of old age, disease or the result of overhearing Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common occupational disease in the United States and in some cases can be inherited as an allergy.
The term hearing loss describes a common disorder. It is estimated that more than 450 million people worldwide have difficulty hearing. This compares to approximately 2 adults affected in the 65+ age group.
When hearing loss begins, the ear’s ability to respond to certain frequencies at lower volumes is usually reduced. Due to this so-called degradation of the auditory pathway affected noise becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish.
This explains why people with early hearing loss can often still carry on one-to-one conversations but are unable to participate in conversations in larger groups or when there is a stronger background (e.g. when going to a restaurant). If this degeneration is counteracted with hearing aids at an early stage, extensive hearing can be preserved
Treat hearing loss.
Has your hearing threshold changed from “normal” hearing to mild hearing loss? Even with mild hearing loss, it’s difficult to carry on conversations and stay social. You’ll worry about all the sounds you can’t hear and argue with your family about the volume of the TV. You’re also more likely to feel lonely and isolated. Using a quality hearing aid to treat hearing loss will help you hear clearly and lower your hearing threshold so you can catch all the sounds around you.
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