Hearing loss takes many shapes and can affect people in a number of ways. One of the rarer types is known as low-frequency hearing loss, which can be caused by a number of conditions. Understanding this disorder can help you seek treatment quickly and find relief sooner.
What Does Low-Frequency Mean?
Sounds are measured in pitch and frequency. Deeper or lower-pitched sounds occur at a frequency of around 2,000 Hertz (Hz). Familiar sounds in this frequency include an airplane passing overhead or the low hum you hear while walking through the appliance section of Carlson All Appliances.
Types of Hearing Loss
You ear is made up of an outer, middle and inner portion. Soundwaves are captured by the outer ear and funneled down the ear canal, hitting the eardrum. This creates a vibration, which is passed through the three tiny bones in the middle ear – the malleus, incus and stapes – until it reaches the inner ear. The inner ear contains tiny hair cells that are responsible for translating the soundwave vibration into an electric impulse, which is sent to the brain via the auditory nerve.
Types of hearing loss are defined by the area of the ear that is malfunctioning. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the hair cells within the inner ear or to the auditory nerve. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents soundwaves from passing through.
Common Causes of Low-Frequency Hearing Loss
Low-frequency hearing loss can occur with both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
This is the most common condition that causes low-frequency hearing loss. This disease occurs when there is a buildup of fluid within the inner ear, although the reason behind the buildup is unknown. In addition to hearing loss, people with this disorder experience sudden episodes of vertigo and tinnitus. These episodes can last for a few minutes to a few hours.
This rare genetic disease is caused by a mutation on the WFS1 gene. Is causes optic atrophy, diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus in addition to low-frequency hearing loss.
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
This syndrome is a viral infection that causes high- and low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in addition to facial paralysis.
Secretory Otitis Media
This type of ear infection occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear. When there is excess fluid in the middle ear, the eardrum cannot vibrate properly. This affects low-frequency sounds first.
This condition occurs when there is a growth on the stapes, a bone in the middle ear. Otosclerosis is caused by a viral infection or an autoimmune disorder.
To learn more about this type of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Decibel Hearing today.