Anatomy of the Ear

Sound enters the ear canal and reaches the eardrum.

Once it enters the middle ear, the eardrum will vibrate, causing the 3 smallest bones in our body to pass sound waves to the cochlea of the inner ear.

Movement of fluid in the cochlea will cause the outer and inner hair cells to bend, creating nerve impulses.

To perceive the sound, these nerve impulses travel through the auditory nerve to the brain for interpretation.

How Do We Interpret Sound?

decible meter

Speech and other sounds in our environment vary in intensity and pitch depending on each individual sound.

The intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB) while pitch is measured in Hertz (Hz).

A person with normal hearing can hear sounds from 0 to 140 decibels.

A whisper is 25 to 30 decibels.

Normal conversation can range between 45 and 60 decibels.

A jet engine is 140 decibels.

The beginning and ends of words (consonants) are between 1500 to 6000 Hz and can be more challenging to hear than vowels.

family with hearing loss at dinner

Prevalence of Hearing Loss

Approximately 48 million people in the United States have a significant permanent hearing loss.

Two of the most common types of irreversible hearing loss include noise-induced and age-related hearing loss.

1 in 3 Americans have hearing loss at 65 years of age.

It is estimated that 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high pitch hearing loss due to noise exposure.

Two of the most common types of irreversible hearing loss include noise-induced and age-related hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss may be caused by either damage or atrophy of the hair cells in the cochlea.

Structural changes within the auditory nerve and pathways of the brain may occur in age-related hearing loss as well.

Due to the anatomy of the ear, a person will initially develop a high pitch hearing loss from age or noise exposure.

Confronting Hearing Loss

audiologist with patient NYC

The brain will compensate for any lack of information presented to the ears.

Depending on the severity of hearing loss it will become increasingly more difficult to interpret the speech signal and follow conversations.

There is great variability of how one functions with hearing loss.

A high pitch hearing loss will typically affect speech clarity especially in the presence of noise.

The progression of hearing loss may occur over a long period of time and is not always noticeable.

Less than 30% of adults over the age of 70 with hearing loss who benefit from amplification wear hearing aids.

Individuals wait approximately 7 to 9 years before seeking treatment for their hearing loss.

Hear the Facts

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Middle Village, NY 11379

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