If you’re able to hear men’s voices more readily than female or children’s voices, it might suggest that you’ve experienced some high-frequency hearing loss. The voices of most women and children fall into a higher frequency range – generally 165 to 255 Hz – while male voices are typically lower frequency at 85 to 180 Hz. In addition, women’s and children’s voices generally have less amplitude (that is, they are softer), so you might hear them at a different volume than men’s voices. Although you may suspect that you have suffered a high-frequency hearing loss because you are having trouble hearing these voices, the only way to know for certain is to make an appointment for an exam.
If it turns out to be high-frequency hearing loss, you’re not alone; this is the most common form of hearing loss. There are many possible causes; among the possibilities are aging, exposure to loud noises, certain diseases and certain drugs. The good news is that high-frequency hearing loss can generally be counteracted with technology.
One effective option involves the fitting of digital hearing aids, whose sophisticated electronics can be programmed to respond differently to sounds at different frequencies. For a person suffering from high-frequency hearing loss, for example, a technician could program the digital hearing aid to raise the volume of high-pitched sounds, while not raising the volume of low-pitched sounds as much. An open-fit hearing aid is another option. The open-fit design leaves the ear canal open or partially open allowing lower frequency sounds to enter the ear normally. The open-fit aid would be set to amplify only the high-pitched sounds. A third possibility for severe cases of high-frequency hearing loss is the placement of a cochlear implant. An implant is a much more expensive and invasive option requiring minor surgery, but it may be the best option in cases of nerve deafness or extreme industrial deafness.
Whatever your particular hearing problem may be, however, the first step to understanding and treating it is to have an examination by a hearing professional. In some cases, for example, high-frequency hearing loss has been caused by nothing more than a buildup of ear wax, which can be cleared up without the need for any type of hearing aid. So rather than worry about why you are having trouble hearing women’s and children’s voices, do something about it by scheduling an appointment with a trained hearing specialist.