Hidden Hearing Loss
Hidden Hearing Loss- what is it and how does it impact your life?
More and more people are discovering that although they hear well in quiet or one-on-one situations, they have increased trouble hearing conversation in background noise. Routine hearing testing may show normal sensitivity to the different test frequencies! Hidden hearing loss is the term used to describe this condition. A likely cause is damage to the ear from repeated noise exposure over time. This damage affects the connection of the nerve cells with hair cells of the of inner ear.
The effects of hidden hearing loss can be reduced by improving the signal-to-noise ratio in the environment whenever possible. This can be accomplished by lowering background noise, or by boosting the speech you are trying to hear via an assistive listening device such as an FM system. Various smartphone apps can turn your smartphone into a remote microphone which can then equalize target speech sounds to your preference and send them to your ears via ear buds or headphones wired or paired via Bluetooth with your smartphone. The best thing you can do is protect your ears from damage (or further damage) by consistently using hearing protection whenever you are exposed to loud noise.