Reverse-slope hearing loss, or low-frequency hearing loss, is a rare type of hearing loss. The name itself comes from how it looks when visualized through an audiogram - a standard chart used to measure levels of hearing when a person receives a hearing test. Anyone who experiences this type of hearing loss finds it harder to hear low-pitched sounds like the bass sounds in music, male voices, and thunder. Your ability, or inability, to pick up these sounds is contingent upon the range of hearing loss, which can be mild to profound.
The volume of speech sounds you can hear and interpret may be impacted. The ability to detect vowel sounds, which are lower-pitched than consonant sounds, can also be challenging. If you don’t wear hearing aids, ask others to speak up if you have trouble hearing low-pitched sounds.
What are reverse-slope hearing loss symptoms?
What causes reverse-slope hearing loss?
Reverse-slope hearing loss can be a genetic form of hearing loss, or a person may experience it after a childhood illness (chickenpox or measles) or a viral infection. Most cases also occur alongside autoimmune disorders, Ménière's disease, or otosclerosis. With Ménière's disease, troubles with hearing can change and progress into other types of hearing loss that impact how sounds come across in various pitches.
A risk factor for heart disease is low-frequency hearing loss, but more research is needed to understand this connection.
If you are experiencing any range of hearing loss and believe hearing aids can be a solution, please contact Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
The musician Huey Lewis is discussing his hearing loss with the world.
As a musician, there’s likely nothing more callous than losing your hearing. He was part of the ‘80s very successful pop rock bands Huey Lewis and the News and received nominations for several Grammy Awards. Towards the end of the 1980s, Lewis started experiencing problems with his hearing. He is now deaf. He and his old bandmates are releasing a 40th anniversary vinyl version of their “Sports” LP.
"I can't hear music at all. I can't hear pitch at all,” said Lewis. “Even one note is out of tune with itself for me, so that's been a bitter pill and a hard pill to swallow. But you've got to move on in life. I have hearing aids in, and I'm Bluetoothing to the computer so I can hear you now. Without my hearing aids, I'm completely deaf."
He recounted the moments when he first started noticing that his hearing was waning and how he was affected by the loss.
“I lost my right side [of hearing] 35 years ago. When I lost my left side and couldn’t hear music anymore, it was traumatic. It was six months of pretty much lying in bed, just wondering, and trying different protocols and acupuncture and chiropractic and all-organic diets - no salt, low salt, all that stuff. And finally, thanks to my kids, you’ve got to move on.”
Lewis said he didn’t want to wallow in sorrow and focused on other creative endeavors. He’s working on a musical he is deeply committed to called “The Heart of Rock & Roll” - even though his hearing is gone. Lewis also had an idea for a TV show, but there’s been a delay due to the writers’ strike. He said, "I remind myself that there are many, many others much worse off, and that’s important to remember. My life is not as good as it used to be when I could hear, but it’s still pretty good."
Are you or a loved one beginning to notice hearing loss? Don’t wait to seek help. Contact Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Noise-induced hearing loss is the only preventable type of hearing loss. Listening to sounds that are at least 70 decibels (dB) over an extensive amount of time can lead to hearing loss. Noise over 120 decibels can lead to immediate and permanent hearing loss.
Wearing earplugs is recommended, but not all earplugs are made to protect your ears from the same level of noise. This is why some people still experience hearing loss even when they wear protection for their ears.
According to the Noise Reduction Rating System (NRR), earplugs are scored on a scale. Each score equals the number of decibels that the earplugs block out.
For example, 24 NRR will only protect 24 dB of sound.
The most decibels that a pair of earplugs can block is 33 dB. On average, earplugs can block out 15-30 dB.
If you wear a 24 NRR earplug while attending a rock concert (about 120 dB), you will still be exposed to 96 dB which can cause hearing loss.
Here’s a guide to help you select earplugs based on your lifestyle.
Are You Attending or Performing at a Rock Concert or a Concert with Loud Music?
Performers and audience members should always wear hearing protection during a loud concert. As previously mentioned, the sound levels at an average rock concert can reach up to 120 dB. Classical music can reach 98 dB.
Many musicians have complained about the music sounding distorted when wearing earplugs, which can obviously be a problem while trying to perform. As a result, many musicians have stopped wearing hearing protection.
If they’ve stopped wearing hearing protection, now is the time for them to use it again. Earplug technology has made advancements. They can now equally reduce decibels, without distorting the music. There are earplugs specifically designed to protect the ears while listening to different music genres.
Do You Use Power Tools?
If you use power tools at home, you are probably being exposed to noise that can damage your hearing. Electric drills, sanders, and saws can create 95 to 120 dB when in use. A few hours of this noise exposure can lead to severe hearing loss. Make sure your earplugs have at least 15 NRR.
Are You an Active Military Service Member?
Anyone who serves in our military has the highest risk of noise exposure which can seriously damage hearing. About 7.5 percent of military service members reported having hearing loss after being deployed. Veterans reported having a significantly higher rate of hearing problems, like tinnitus. Make sure you are being provided with strong hearing protection.
There are now earplugs that are advanced and military-improved; they feature two settings. The main setting lets users hear commands and other background noises. The other setting has an NRR 33 rating, which is the highest possible rating. This setting can keep your hearing safe through loud combat noises including gunfire and explosions.
Do You attend Arenas to Watch Live Sports?
Football stadiums can be a fun place to be, but they can also be very loud. One football game recorded 142.2 dB of noise from the crowd. That’s almost the same noise level as a firecracker.
Temporary hearing loss can occur. There’s still a risk if you wear low-level earplugs. That’s why you should get hearing aids that withstand more substantial noises if you plan to attend a sports game.
It’s important to protect your hearing. Choosing the proper hearing protection is crucial. If you see earplugs that are not specifically made for the activity that you are going to participate in, do some research to find out the maximum decibel level of the specified activity, and find earplugs that would be suitable for that decibel range.
It only takes one very loud exposure to noise to cause permanent hearing loss. Preventative measures are easy and affordable.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss. Our offices also offer earplugs, so if you are planning an outing where it might be loud, stop by one of our office locations to purchase a pair of earplugs.