Causes of low frequency hearing loss


Relation of frequency with hearing loss

Frequency is measured in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz). The higher the pitch of the sound, the higher the frequency. Young children, who generally have the best hearing, can often distinguish sounds from about 20 Hz, such as the lowest note on a large pipe organ, to 20,000 Hz, such as the high shrill of a dog whistle that many people are unable to hear.
Human speech, which ranges from 300 to 4,000 Hz, sounds louder to most people than noises at very high or very low frequencies. When hearing impairment begins, the high frequencies are usually lost first, which is why people with hearing loss often have difficulty hearing the high pitched voices of women and children.

Causes

There are four causes described properly for the low frequency hearing loss.

1. Periodic episodes of rotatory vertigo or dizziness: Periodic attacks of vertigo are the most disruptive of the symptoms to the patient. It is usually the vertigo attack which causes the patient to seek medical treatment. Typically, vertigo occurs in the form of a series of attacks over a period of weeks or months, interspersed by periods of remission of variable duration. The attack consists of a period of dizziness or vertigo (dizziness may include a feeling of unsteadiness; the term vertigo is normally reserved for the perception of spinning).

2. Fluctuating, progressive, low-frequency hearing loss: The hearing loss usually affects one ear, which typically loses sensitivity to low-frequency (bass) sounds the most. As well as being harder to hear, sounds may appear "tinny" or distorted. Loud sounds may cause more discomfort than normal (loudness intolerance). The hearing loss fluctuates over time. Sometimes the hearing may recover to some extent, but then on other days hearing may be difficult. In addition, the degree of hearing loss may get progressively worse with time, eventually affecting all sound frequencies and hearing may be completely lost in the affected ear.

3. Tinnitus: Tinnitus is sustained, loud "ringing" in the ears. Many normal individuals experience brief episodes of tinnitus, such as a loud "ping" which declines over a period of seconds to minutes. The tinnitus experienced by Meniere's patients is continual and does not abate with time, although its intensity may vary. The tinnitus is generally nonpulsatile. In addition, it may be heard more as a load roaring or buzzing sensation, rather than a whistling.

4. Aural fullness: The feeling of "fullness" in the ear is similar to that experienced by barometric pressure changes (such as when riding up or down a hill, or ascending or descending in an airplane). However, this fullness cannot clear by swallowing, as in the case of pressure changes.

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