However, hearing loss from aging, ear damage, or brain illnesses can severely affect how you perceive audio. This can manifest as hearing loss, distortion and an inability to pinpoint the direction. There are many unsettling effects related to hearing loss besides the lowered volume. However, you can reduce the damage to your ears with some changes. Further, you can get help from a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) with tests, advice and a hearing aid fitting.

What are Sound Waves Exactly?

A sound wave is nothing more than a rise and fall in pressure over a measure of time. However, soundwaves are affected by pretty much everything in the environment. The waves, which travel to your ear, are made by quick pressure changes that present as vibrational energy moving away from the source. They can travel through almost anything, such as the air, water and organic or man-made materials. Yet, the medium they travel through can dramatically impact how your ears and brain perceive them.

How Your Ear and Brain Perceive Sounds

There are many steps and changes that occur as you perceive a sound involving various parts. Here are a few ways that your hearing changes as you are perceiving sound:

  • Your outer ear: Sounds reach the outer ear, and the shape of your ear helps transmit sound to the eardrum.
  • Your middle ear: Next, the sounds make your eardrum vibrate, which is amplified by the bones in your ear.
  • Your inner ear: Your cochlea causes stereocilia to bend, converting vibration to electrical signals.
  • Your auditory nerve: Electrical signals are carried from the inner ear along the auditory nerve to your brain. The process happens extremely quickly as the brain recognizes sounds, speech and music.

What Happens with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occurs for many reasons. Some are accidental, others medical and a few are related to brain illnesses. The symptoms of hearing loss include muffled sounds, losing people during a conversation and finding it hard to hear consonants. The causes of hearing loss vary.

But most commonly, there is damage to the auditory nerve, therefore impeding the ability to carry sounds to the brain. In addition, however, sudden changes in pressure can damage your cochlea or eardrum. Often beyond repair. When any of these happen, you should seek medical advice.

How Hearing Loss Changes Your Perception

Hearing loss in itself is a new experience as you adjust to life without a vital sense. But hearing loss is more than just an inability to hear everyday sounds. It can affect how you perceive certain aspects of sound waves and how they transmit to the ear. These include:

  • Binaural: Hearing loss in one ear reduces combining multiple cues into one sound.
  • Volume: The intensity of a sound perceived as weaker with hearing loss
  • Pitch: Hearing loss often begins with the ability to hear high-pitched sounds.
  • Timbre: The unique characteristics of a sound, lost through hearing issues.
  • Localization: You might have trouble pinpointing where a sound comes from.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may experience all or some of these perception changes. Additionally, your perception relies on more than your ears. For example, you might be less affected by familiarity with certain sounds, proximity and the environment.

Reducing the Impact of Sound Waves

There are many causes of hearing loss. However, exposure to certain sound waves and waveforms can have a severe impact on your hearing. For example, listening to music on your headphones with loud bass will cause damage over time. Fortunately, looking after your ears is relatively easy.

Try to limit the volume of music and your TV, especially when using headphones. And use earplugs if you work in a loud environment such as a manufacturing plant. Finally, always use the proper protection for noisy hobbies like target shooting or restoring engines.

Getting Help for Your Hearing Loss

You don’t have to go it alone when your hearing begins to decline. For whatever reason, your ears can become less sensitive to the volume, pitch and timbre of sound waves. This can cause distortions and an inability to locate sounds. At Center for Better Hearing, we specialize in helping people with hearing loss. Please visit our website to review our services. Call us today at 510-768-7091. We are looking forward to helping you.

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