“Cookie Bite” Hearing Loss
There are many terms that we use to describe a hearing loss. You may hear someone say they have a “high frequency hearing loss“, or perhaps a “reverse slope hearing loss.” Less common, is the cookie bite hearing loss. See the photo of that audiogram to the left? Notice how the shape of that curve kind of looks like someone took a bite out of it? Where the “cookie” part came from is anyone’s guess- but any time an audiogram has a curve on it like this, it signifies a cookie bite loss. If you don’t know how to read that audiogram, it shows that the individual has a hard time hearing the mid frequencies, and an easier time hearing the lows and highs.
Cookie bite hearing losses are most often hereditary and are sometimes noticed during a child’s first hearing test. However, it’s more common that this type of hearing loss is first noticed between the age of thirty and forty. The usual indications of a cookie bite hearing loss is inability to hear mid-range sounds, yet no problems hearing the low or high frequency sounds. With cookie bite losses, like most hearing losses, there’s no telling if the loss is going to get better or worse, you just have to kind of wait and see. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get a hearing test at least every 2 years and get a copy of the results for yourself so you can track your hearing.
Treatments for cookie bite hearing losses are limited to hearing aids, but most people with a cookie bite loss don’t have terrific results with hearing aids. If you browse the message boards online and talk to other people with cookie bite hearing losses the majority are all saying the same thing- it’s hard to find someone that knows how to adjust hearing aids for a cookie bite loss. Unfortunately, there has been very little research conducted on actually fitting cookie bite hearing losses, so it’s hard for hearing providers to know how to properly adjust hearing aids for this type of loss. Admittedly, I’ve had a few clients with this type of loss that I basically tried everything on and was just kind of shooting from the hip. The fact is, the vast majority of folks with hearing loss have either a flat loss or a high frequency loss, or some variation of both, and so the majority of education and training is centered around helping those individuals. There just hasn’t been enough resources dedicated to cookie bite hearing loss to really know how to fit it well- and if you find some, please post about it in the comments below, as I’ve looked to no avail.
The one thing I can say with certainty about cookie bite losses is the more channels the hearing aid has, the better. In general, the more channels a hearing aid has, the more flexibility your hearing provider has when adjusting your hearing aids. With a cookie bite loss, chances are you’re going to have to experiment with a lot of different settings on your hearing aids, and having all the channels you need will help you get that variation needed to find a setting that works for you. In addition, the open fit style of hearing aid is probably best, as it will allow your (normal) low and high frequency sounds to enter the ear unaltered by the hearing aid.
If you have a cookie bite hearing loss and have found success with hearing aids, I would love to hear your story and your solution, so feel free to post in the comment section below.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.