Hidden hearing loss is a form of hearing loss that impacts the ability to hear speech or conversation in noisy settings. Due to its cause, it’s often not diagnosed via regular hearing tests.
According to a study published in Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, hidden hearing loss is likely caused by a defect in the cochlea nerve. The cochlea nerve is in the inner ear and plays a vital role in hearing by routing sound information to the brain.
Common hearing loss is caused by damage to hair cells found in the inner ear. Traditional hearing tests identify symptoms caused by damaged hair cells, which is why hidden hearing loss is not regularly diagnosed with a normal hearing test.
People with hidden hearing loss may feel frustrated to be told everything is okay. Learning about hidden hearing loss can help you talk to your hearing specialist so you can hear clearly during your next coffee meetup at Third Culture Coffee.
Signs of Hidden Hearing Loss
You may want to talk to your hearing specialist about hidden hearing loss if you experience the following:
- A general preference for having conversations in quiet places due to your ability to hear
- Inability to focus in a loud setting
- Frequently mishearing others
You may also have a feeling that you have some form of hearing loss, even if you’ve passed a traditional hearing test. It’s important to listen to your instincts and bring up any concerns with your doctor as there are tests that can be done.
How Is It Diagnosed?
The most common symptom of hidden hearing loss is the ability to hear speech in noisy environments. Hearing specialists can use a “words in noise” test to identify hidden hearing loss. During a “words in noise” test, you will listen to recorded speech with an increasingly noisy background sound. Your performance during the test can help doctors determine if you have hidden hearing loss.
What Is the Treatment?
There is currently no treatment for hidden hearing loss. However, your hearing specialist can help you determine if there are devices available to assist with your hearing. Living with undiagnosed hidden hearing loss can be frustrating so getting a diagnosis allows you to find a solution that works for you.
If you think you could be impacted by hidden hearing loss, contact Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic to schedule an appointment.