Humans can hear a wide range of sound frequencies, but we cannot hear everything, especially sounds on the higher end of the frequency spectrum. Often clients with normal hearing tell us about their challenges in understanding speech in noisy environments. This is an essential communication skill that varies widely between individuals and is poorly understood. There are indicators that extended high-frequency (EHF) hearing, beyond the currently tested range of clinical audiometry, contributes to speech perception in noise.
Why should I get a High Frequency Hearing Test?
Hearing Loss is the most common neurodegenerative condition and unaddressed hearing loss is estimated to pose an annual global cost of over US$750 billion. But EHF hearing difficulties are far more common and undiagnosed in otherwise normally hearing young adults and it predicts a self-reported difficulty in hearing speech in noise. Evidence suggests that EHF test is a missing link between audiometry and speech perception and may be a sensitive predictor of age-related hearing loss much earlier in life when preventive measures can be effectively deployed.
High frequency audiometry is also helpful when testing hearing issues caused by ototoxicity, noise exposure, and acoustic traumas or in the assessment of patients with tinnitus. The frequency area is more susceptible to the effects of external factors such as medication and loud noises relative to the low and mid frequencies.