There are many ways someone can lose their hearing. For example, hearing loss can be age-related, hereditary or caused by environmental factors. There is also a less common type of hearing loss called cookie bite hearing loss. Cookie bite hearing loss is unusual because it affects certain sounds someone will hear. It develops slowly and is harder to detect than other forms of hearing loss.
The term “cookie bite” is derived from the appearance of audiograms that are taken from patients who have the condition. Instead of a smooth line, their audiogram has a dent in the middle that looks like a cookie bite, which is where the name comes from. This dent has some serious consequences for a person. Generally, sufferers of cookie bite hearing loss will struggle to hear noises in the middle of the frequency range, but can register high and low frequencies pretty well. Unfortunately, these middle frequencies contain things like speech and music – so the effects can be severe. For example, patients may be able to hear noises like slamming doors or someone playing a guitar, but can’t hear someone speaking in front of them.
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It usually develops slowly over time. People with this condition will start to notice hearing difficulties with everyday noises in their 20s, but these won’t become severe until their late 30s and 40s for some people. This means that people often delay seeking treatment because the condition develops slowly and can be hard to detect at first. Experts believe that cookie bite hearing loss is mostly a genetic issue. It’s also defined as a “sensorineural” condition, which means it attacks the vestibulocochlear nerve of the inner ear and is another reason why it’s hard to diagnose. Patients will usually find out if they have cookie bite hearing loss after undergoing a full audiogram, and younger people tend to not take this exam. So, the condition can worsen without treatment.
This type of hearing loss can lead to social problems when individuals struggle with holding a conversation. It also creates professional problems since they have trouble understanding instructions, presentations and interview questions. Music can become harder to listen to. Warning messages can be missed in public places, and sirens and alarms can be more distressing to the ear when you have cookie bite hearing loss. This hearing loss can go from being frustrating to severely limiting for a person.
There are treatments that can relieve the symptoms of cookie bite hearing loss so people can have rewarding conversations. Most of the time, the treatments will rely on the use of special types of hearing aids. Hearing aids that are made for those with cookie bite hearing loss have built-in features that trim high and low frequencies and even out the level of amplification. Every person has a slightly different hearing range, which can change over time, so these special types of hearing aids can be adjusted. Standard devices are fine for general hearing loss, but these flexible aids are perfectly set up for those with cookie bite hearing loss.
Cookie bite hearing loss can have serious consequences, and it isn’t easy to detect. Anyone who feels they might have cookie bite hearing loss should take a hearing test and see the results of their audiogram. This applies to people particularly in their 20s or 30s who struggle to hold conversations or feel their hearing abilities have worsened. If you are diagnosed with cookie bite hearing loss, be careful about what type of treatment you choose for it. Hearing specialists should know that standard hearing aids may not be effective for people with cookie bite hearing loss. Using a special type of hearing aid for this hearing loss can even out high and low frequencies. If the choice is available, these specialized hearing aids for cookie bite hearing loss will make a huge difference in your life.
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