Hidden Hearing Loss: What is It?

It’s frustrating to have a hearing problem that isn’t detectable using standard audiology testing. Hidden hearing loss is an umbrella term used to describe all hearing difficulties that cannot be detected through regular testing. Although it’s daunting to detect and treat hidden hearing loss, people who have noticed a drastic change in their hearing health should visit an ear specialist. The number of people who have hidden hearing loss is not yet known.

The human ear has three parts, the inner ear, the middle ear, and the outer ear. The ear coordinates with the brain to transform vibrations in the environment into recognizable sounds.

What Is the Main Cause of Hidden Hearing Loss?

Noise pollution and normal aging are the main culprits of hearing loss. Research shows that prolonged exposure to low- and high-level noise may cause hidden hearing loss.

Issues with myelin cells are another common cause of hearing loss. Myelin is the substance that coats the brain cell in the ear. The myelin can be attacked by autoimmune disorders linked to the flu, food poisoning, Zika virus, and hepatitis.

Do Other Diseases Accompany Hidden Hearing Loss?

Tinnitus is sometimes associated with hidden hearing loss. However, some people may have tinnitus but not suffer from hidden hearing loss. Patients with tinnitus may have minimized output of the auditory nerve, which may be mistaken for hidden hearing loss.

Symptoms Of Hidden Hearing Loss

There is no established technique for diagnosing hidden hearing loss. However, hearing specialists look for:

• Compelling evidence that you might have a hearing loss, even after passing several hearing tests

• A preference for an extra quiet environment for conversations

• Losing concentration in noisy environments

• Difficulties in hearing people voices

Special Tools for Detecting Hidden Hearing Loss

There are some experimental tools for catching hidden hearing loss. Ear specialists first measure electrical signals on the ear canal to gauge how they encode sound waves. The second test is more specialized. Patients are requested to wear glasses that record the changes in the pupil’s diameter when listening to speech in noisy environments. Amazing, our pupil’s diameter adjusts depending on how much effort we put into understanding a task.

Treatment For Hearing Loss

There is no specific treatment for hidden hearing loss. However, research is underway to determine whether neurons can develop new synapses. If the study succeeds, people with mild hearing issues will get hearing aid kits to listen to speech in noisy environments. Currently, some microphones pick up signals from the front and obstruct noise from the sides and back.

Call Us Today

If you have difficulties in hearing, schedule an appointment with our renowned hearing specialists. They will conduct several hearing tests and customize assistive listening devices if you happen to have hidden hearing loss.