If you’re diagnosed with cookie-bite hearing loss, it unfortunately has nothing to do with sugary baked goods. Instead, it got the name from the shape of your audiogram.
Audiograms are the visual representation of the results of a hearing test. The most common type of hearing loss — high-frequency hearing loss — creates a downward slope, while low-frequency hearing loss creates an upward slope. Cookie-bite hearing loss refers to the loss of mid-tones, which creates the shape of a U.
“It got that name because when a patient with this pattern of hearing loss has an audiogram and the hearing thresholds are graphed, the pattern is a ‘U’ that looks as if someone took a bite out of it,” Dr. Jordan Glicksman, MD, MPH, FACS, FRCSC, otolaryngologist, rhinologist, skull base surgeon, and part-time lecturer at Harvard Medical School.
What Type of Hearing Loss Is It?
Cookie-bite hearing loss is a subtype of sensorineural hearing loss. This means it is caused by a problem in the cochlea or the auditory nerve and is irreversible.
Within the cochlea are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These cells move in response to soundwaves traveling through the ear, converting them into electrical signals that travel via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted. When damage to the cells or to the nerve causes loss of mid-tones, cookie-bite hearing loss is the result.
Symptoms of Cookie-Bite Hearing Loss
A lot of human speech and music falls in the mid-range, between 500 and 2,000 Hz. This means you can still hear high-frequency sounds like birds chirping and children’s voices, as well as low-frequency sounds like thunder and some men’s voices. Most likely you’ll have difficulty making out subtle differences between speech sounds rather than trouble hearing voices altogether.
Common symptoms of cookie-bite hearing loss include raising the volume on the TV louder than is comfortable for others, feeling like speech is muffled or distorted and having difficulty following conversations when background noise is present.
As with most cases of hearing loss, typically your closest loved ones can detect you’re struggling with your hearing before you can. For more information about cookie-bite hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Evergreen Speech & Hearing today!