Low-frequency hearing loss

image shows people with low-frequency hearing loss

What is low-frequency hearing loss?

People with low-frequency hearing loss have trouble hearing low-pitched sounds (sound frequencies at or below 2,000 Hz), like men’s voices and bass sounds in music. The amount of difficulty you have hearing these sounds will depend on your degree of low-frequency hearing loss.

This type of hearing loss mainly affects the volume of low-frequency sounds. So sounds at this pitch may seem quieter than they actually are.

Online hearing test

Illustration shows part of the ear where high-frequency hearing loss occurs

Low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss can result in low-frequency hearing loss, meaning that it's caused by damage to the hair cells in a specific region of the cochlea (in the inner ear).

Since it's the hair cells' role to make sure that sound travels from the outer ear to the brain, damage to these cells can seriously impact your ability to hear properly.

Consequences of untreated hearing loss

Image shows a man on the phone

Book a free test for low-frequency hearing loss

Book a free hearing test to find out if you have low-frequency or any other type of hearing loss. We can suggest treatment options and help you understand your condition better.
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What causes low-frequency hearing loss?

Low-frequency hearing loss can be present in both sensorineural and conductive forms of hearing loss. The causes may be genetic in nature or due to a result of a childhood illness.

Common factors that can cause low-frequency hearing loss include:

  • Wolfram Syndrome mutation
  • Ménière's disease
  • Mondini dysplasia
  • Sudden hearing loss.

Tip from an audiologist

Since low-frequency hearing loss is less common than high-frequency hearing loss, it is a good idea to be aware of the signs and symptoms. This way you can identify if you might have low-frequency hearing loss – and get professional advice more quickly.

It can be difficult to identify low-frequency hearing loss yourself, since many of the signs are similar to other forms of hearing loss. Just knowing what the signs of hearing loss are and when to take a test are great ways for staying on top of your hearing health.

When to take a hearing test

Signs and symptoms of low-frequency hearing loss

While it might initially seem fairly easy to "get by" when you have some subtle symptoms of low-frequency hearing loss, you will likely begin to miss out on important sounds, which can impact your quality of life.

Image shows people in conversation
Difficulty following conversations
You have difficulty following group conversations – especially when there's background noise
Image shows man talking on the phone
Phone conversations are unclear
You may struggle to hear phone conversations, and often ask people to repeat what they've just said
Image shows three friends socialising at a pub
Low-frequency sounds are difficult to understand
You have a hard time hearing low-pitch, deeper sounds (such as a man's voice)
Image shows a woman talking to a Hidden Hearing hearing care specialist

Treatment for low-frequency hearing loss

Modern hearing aids are able to provide considerable support to people that suffer from this type of hearing loss.

Some people might feel that low-frequency hearing loss doesn't have as much of an impact on their daily lives as high-frequency hearing loss might have. But the effects can take their toll on daily activities as the sufferer starts to experience fewer and fewer of the sounds around them. It's important to get professional advice and support whenever any symptoms of hearing loss occur.

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1. Niskar AS, Kieszak SM, Holmes A, Esteban E, Rubin C, Brody DJ. Prevalence of Hearing Loss Among Children 6 to 19 Years of Age: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA. 1998;279(14):1071–1075. doi:10.1001/jama.279.14.1071

2. Parving A, Sakihara Y, Christensen B. Inherited sensorineural low-frequency hearing impairment: some aspects of phenotype and epidemiology. Audiology. 2000 Jan-Feb;39(1):50-60. doi: 10.3109/00206090009073054. PMID: 10749071.

3. MarkeTrak 10, Marketing Research, Inc.