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What is Hearing Loss?

Each person's experience with hearing loss is unique, as it involves the loss of the ability to hear certain frequencies of sound. Two people with the same level of hearing loss can hear the world in very different ways, depending on which frequencies they are struggling to hear. Someone with high-frequency hearing loss has more trouble with higher-frequency sounds, such as “s” or “th” sounds. Certain words may sound less clear to them. Someone with low-frequency hearing loss would have the opposite problem — they struggle to hear lower-pitched sounds. Some words may sound tinny or harsh. Some people experience hearing loss at middle frequencies. They might have trouble hearing certain speech sounds that fall into this range. This is called a “cookie bite” hearing loss and might make words sound muffled.

Hearing loss is often seen as something that only affects older people; however, it can affect anyone, at any age. In fact, it is the third most common health problem today, with approximately 1 out of 5 Canadians experiencing some degree of reduced hearing. (Statistics Canada, Canadian Health Measures Survey 2012-2013).

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