Some individuals with hearing loss say that there are times they get startled by louder sounds. You might think that a person with hearing loss would be happy to hear something, but that’s not the case here. The sound that they hear can be irritating and sometimes painful. Hearing specialists are aware of this, and they refer to it as “recruitment” or auditory distortion.
First, you need to know how a person loses his or her hearing. It starts when the hair cells in the inner ears degrade. Usually, this takes place due to age. When these hair cells degrade, they can no longer react to sound waves usually—therefore, it causes loss of hearing. Now, not all cells degrade at the same time. In that case, there will be healthy cells left behind that can still detect sound waves.
When the healthy cells detect sound waves (usually high-pitched ones), they get “recruited” in place of the dying cells and they respond to the sound quite forcefully, hence for most individuals, the sound is irritating.
Recruitment is quite similar to hyperacusis. Hyperacusis is a heightened sensitivity to sound, but it’s not connected to sensorineural hearing loss. Instead, head injury, ear damage, viral information, or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder are the most common causes of hyperacusis.
The good news is, recruitment is treatable. One popular treatment is the use of high-quality hearing aids that can compress sounds in a specific range that bothers you. It’s essential to have a skilled hearing care provider to help you choose the right pair of hearing aids that will help you deal with recruitment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that recruitment can develop over time. With that said, after some time, even with hearing aids, you may notice unusual sound sensitivity. When this happens, most people get relief from Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).
TRT helps individuals learn to cope with ringing ears on both conscious and unconscious levels. The therapy combines extensive information about the patient, the use of devices worn behind the ear, and psychological therapy that will help patients learn how to ignore the tinnitus noise.
The psychological therapy includes deep relaxation exercises and stress management. It aims to eliminate the anxiety of the patient so that tinnitus will no longer be perceived as dangerous.
So, if you have hearing loss and you notice sudden, startling sounds that bother you, you might be dealing with recruitment. Don’t panic when you hear it because there are treatments available for it such as the use of advanced hearing aids and therapy to help you better cope with the sound.
Make sure to find a reputable hearing clinic that can handle your needs. Recruitment requires a skilled hearing specialist to help you better cope with the sound. Fortunately, there are a lot of hearing clinics today that you can find. Choose a clinic that will suit your needs. Moreover, you can also ask for a referral from your regular physician.
Don’t let that ringing and harsh sound get the best of you. Help is available along with advanced treatments that will give you relief. Located in Langley and Abbotsford, we are one of the leading hearing clinics in Chilliwack. Come and visit or contact us at our hearing clinic today!