Hearing – Loss

Understanding Hearing Loss

The cause of hearing loss is best diagnosed by an Audiologist. Hearing professionals diagnose the causes of hearing loss by various methods, audiometric hearing tests. Causes of hearing loss include the most common type, sensorineural hearing loss, and conductive hearing loss. In order to find out whether the problem is in the cochlea or with nerve, other diagnostic tests are needed. Based on the severity of the hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants may be used to treat sensorineural hearing loss. Rarer is conductive hearing loss, usually caused by a blockage or trauma that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. In some cases, the causes may be mixed sensorineural and conductive.

  • Audiometric devices measure ability to hear.
  • The audiogram (graph) at right illustrates normal vs. typical hearing loss.
  • Notice the drip in ability to hear at frequencies (pitch) above about 2,000 Hz.
  • The loss is progressive worse at higher pitches.
  • Audiologists also perform other hearing tests, e.g., for word recognition.
  • Audiologists also perform tests to determine the type of hearing loss.
  • Striking advances in hearing aid technology have been made in recent years. They can be “tuned” to:
    • Selectively reduce background noise, and,
      • Improve hearing of music, and for other needs.

Hearing loss and Amplification vs. Pitch of sound.

Moderate hearing loss audiogram.

Correction / Amplification vs. pitch for using four different algorithms (programs)

  • Loss of hearing is commonly at higher pitches (frequencys), as illustrated in the left graph.
  • The right graph illustrates how algorithms are “tweaked” to boost / amplify sounds at higher pitches to compensate for hearing loss at those frequencies.

Return Home

Return to top-level page for hearing assistive Devicers