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Lincoln, RI 02865 Building #3
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Sound Waves and How Hearing Loss Affects Our Perception of Them

diagram of ear on woman's head and ear

If you are experiencing hearing loss, then it is important to know that you are not alone. Five percent of people across the world need help with their hearing loss, and it is considered to be part of getting older. That being said, just because hearing loss is common, doesn’t mean that it is easy. Those who are experiencing hearing loss may end up feeling confused as well. If you want to try and make the most out of your hearing, then it is important to know how hearing loss works. Only then can you begin to make positive changes.

Humans are Very Visual

The human race is very visual. The problem is that we cannot see sound waves. When someone begins to lose their sight, they tend to notice that their vision is failing. Those who lose their hearing however tend to experience things such as people not speaking loud enough. Hearing loss is very frustrating because it is difficult for humans to see sound, as being a physical process. Sound waves have a big part to play here.

Sound and Vibrations

Sound is really just a vibration. It is created when energy is transferred. This transfer could be a dropped cup on a wooden floor, which gives off a very loud bang. If you then hear the cup shatter, you will soon see that a very different sound is produced, and this is the energy caused by the cup breaking. All of this energy then causes vibrations in the air. Waves like this can easily travel through surfaces, which is why it is possible for you to pick up on noises that might be right outside your door.

The Human Ear

It’s important to know that your body is not able to process sound until it is able to enter your ear. You have to remember that sound travels far slower than light, which is why you usually see the sight of fireworks before you hear the sound. When you hear a sound, it will first enter your outer ear. It is then processed and then it travels to your inner ear. Your ears are shaped in such a way, that it helps the inner ear to process sound efficiently. The sound then travels to your inner ear where it eventually hits your eardrum. Your eardrum is a membrane that is able to vibrate in response to the sound waves.

Your brain then has to interpret the signal that is being communicated. There are neurotransmitters that convert the sound into information that your brain can process. The brain is key when it comes to figuring out what sound it is you are hearing. If someone has hearing loss, then they may end up picking up the wrong signal. This could be the difference between a dog whimpering and a squeak from outside, or on the television.

How Sound is Heard

If you have hearing loss, then this will influence your body’s ability to process sound waves in a way that your ear can take them in. if someone has hearing loss, then this doesn’t mean that the ear doesn’t work at all. It means however that your body’s ability to process the sound waves that the ear is taking in is limited. The main, most common form of hearing loss would be sensorineural hearing loss.  This happens when the tiny hairs that are within the ear become damaged. This could be down to simple aging, or it could be because of loud noises or high-pitched frequencies.

Why do you have Hearing Loss?

Understanding why you have hearing loss, and how your ability to interpret sound is affected is super important. Knowing how sound waves influence what you hear it is also important. If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, then you need to try and talk with your audiologist. When you do, they can then work with you to make sure that you are given the help and support you need to make the most out of your hearing aid, while also advising you on what caused your hearing loss in the first place.

This is the best way for you to gain a higher level of understanding in regards to your hearing loss. If you want to find out more about your hearing loss, then make sure that you contact the Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center. You can do so by giving this number a call: 401-475-6116. One of our audiologists would be happy to help.