Cookie bite hearing loss is a type of sensorineural hearing impairment that is characterised by the 8th cranial nerve being the cause of the hearing loss. Damage to the inner ear, brain or auditory nerve can cause a sensorineural hearing impairment.
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Why Is It Called Cookie Bite Hearing Loss?
The name “cookie bite” came about as a result of the shape of the hearing curve when presented on an audiogram; a similar shape to that of a cookie that has had a bite taken out of it. There are also some other names that are used to describe this form of hearing loss: U-shaped hearing loss, soup plate hearing loss, or pool hearing loss, just to name a few.
What Are The Symptoms And Characteristics Of A Cookie Bite Hearing Impairment?
People with this particular type of hearing loss have trouble hearing sounds in the mid frequency range. They normally don’t experience such a problem with low and high frequency sounds, by comparison. Regular human conversation is one of the mid frequency sounds that may be difficult for a cookie bite sufferer to hear.
What Are The Causes Of Cookie Bite Hearing Loss And Who Can Get It?
This type of hearing problem is not overly common, and can be hereditary or more likely to occur when a child’s mother has had the German measles. It is often discovered in a child’s very first hearing test. In some cases, a parent may have cookie bite hearing loss but not even be aware of it. They may be tested at the same time that the child’s disorder has been diagnosed, only to become surprised at finding out that they too suffer from the same hearing impairment. Besides early childhood diagnosis, the most common age that a person finds out that they have this problem is usually in their 30s or 40s.
Some diseases, aging, and excessively loud noise can all result in cookie bite hearing loss. The problem occurs when the extremely minuscule hair cells that are located in cochlea become damaged. As people age, these hair cells become less numerous and as a result, this hearing loss often becomes worse with age, including the possibility of even high frequency sounds becoming more difficult to hear as time goes on. It is also thought that some drugs could bring about symptoms of cookie bite hearing loss, including aspirin, streptomycin and quinine.
What is Reverse Cookie Bite Hearing Loss?
To make matters a little more confusing when it comes to this unique form of hearing impairment, there is also such thing as reverse cookie bite hearing loss. As the name would suggest, reverse cookie bite hearing impairment is the opposite of the regular cookie bite shape on the audiogram.
In practical terms this means that the person has normal hearing in the middle frequency range, where regular cookie bite impairment takes place. But they will find that their hearing is not functioning normally in the low and high frequencies. This can range from relatively mild hearing loss in those top and bottom frequencies, to quite severe. On the audiogram chart, a reverse cookie bite impairment does indeed look the opposite to the normal cookie bite hearing result.
How Is Cookie Bite Hearing Loss Treated?
Unfortunately, when a person has this type of hearing loss condition, they will never be able to recover their full ability to hear properly. There are thankfully a number of types of hearing aids which can be used by people with cookie bite hearing impairment, and these aids are able to give the person at least some restoration of their hearing.
Standard hearing aids are generally not able to be used by a person with this type of hearing impairment. The type of hearing aid device that is required is one that is able to specifically amplify the middle frequency sounds, whilst doing so at the expense of the sounds in the high and low frequencies. This is a vital factor when it comes to selecting the right hearing aid for cookie bite hearing loss, because an aid that also amplifies sounds in the low and high frequency spectrums (which the cookie bite patient is able to hear normally), will result in those additional sounds being considerably uncomfortable in loud environments. Due to the specialist nature of the required hearing aid for this particular condition then, they may cost a little more than compared with a standard hearing aid. However, the benefits to the user will more than make up for the added financial expense.
A good hearing aid for this condition should be sourced as soon as possible after diagnosis. It may take patients some time to get accustomed to the hearing aid, but most find that they help considerably in living with this ailment.
Even though cookie bite hearing loss is not able to be improved or cured, sufferers can take advantage of the ever advancing technology available in hearing aids and other related research that is continually providing better and more effective solutions for obtaining a better quality of hearing. Regular hearing tests, carried out in accordance with the direction of an audiologist, will ensure that the patient’s hearing ability is monitored over time, with careful attention being paid to any noticeable decline, or possible loss of hearing in other parts of the frequency spectrum, which may eventually require a different type of hearing aid.