Understanding the Degrees of Hearing Loss

Understanding the Degrees of Hearing Loss

Are you preparing to have a hearing test with Exceptional Hearing Care? Have you recently had a hearing test and are trying to learn more about your hearing abilities? Treating hearing loss and improving your hearing health contributes to your overall health. Studies show that treating hearing loss supports your cognitive abilities, could help prevent accidents, and help reduce the risk for developing dementia. Our team is here to answer your questions and help you understand hearing loss. Here is some information on understanding the degrees of hearing loss.

Recognizing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is an invisible condition and often occurs gradually. For many people, hearing loss is something that they learn to accommodate without seeking treatment. As a result, you may not realize that you are listening to the TV or radio at higher volumes than before. Here are some signs that you may have a hearing loss:

  • People seem to be mumbling more and you are asking people to repeat themselves.
  • You are participating in a conversation and you can tell people are talking, but you can’t quite discern what they are saying.
  • You don’t hear the faucet dripping, the refrigerator cycling, that “ding” in your car to remind you to put your seatbelt on or the sound from the microwave that your dinner is done warming up.
  • You have trouble hearing children’s voices – especially voices in a high range.
  • You don’t hear the birds chirping outside anymore.
  • You have difficulty with conversations on the phone.
  • You have to turn up the television, the radio, the sound on your computer speakers, and the voice on your GPS.
  • You struggle to follow a conversation if more than two people are talking and it is tough to hear people talking in a crowded environment.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is measured in degrees, from mild to profound. The category generally refers to the decibel level of the sound you can hear and understand. The key here is to understand – many people with hearing loss complain that while they can hear people talking, it is difficult to understand what is being said.

The stress of trying to understand the sound can cause fatigue, as the brain struggles to piece together fragments of sound. People with untreated hearing loss may be exhausted by the end of the day. With hearing loss, the most common treatment is the prescription of hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify sound and are programmed to address the specific level of hearing loss. Common features you’ll find with hearing aids include filters for background noise, directional microphones, and switching between modes to detect the difference between “conversation” and noise.

Degrees of Loss

Mild – This is the most common degree of hearing loss and the most undiagnosed. You will have trouble hearing sounds that are less than 40 decibels. This would be a whisper, rustling leaves or the sound of normal breathing. You may be having some trouble hearing others in noisy environments or hearing higher-pitched sounds. You likely would have great difficulty carrying on a conversation in a library.

Moderate – In addition to the sounds above, you would also have difficulty up to the 60-decibel range. This would be a quiet conversation in the average office environment. You wouldn’t hear the sound of an average air conditioning unit. You wouldn’t hear the background music in a mall or at a restaurant. Normal conversation is about 60-65 decibels.

Severe – This puts you in the range of difficulty hearing 80 decibels.  In addition to the sounds described above, you would not likely hear the vacuum cleaner, a chainsaw, or a hair dryer. You wouldn’t hear a car coming behind you going about 65 mph. You would have to be at least 50 feet from a freeway to hear the traffic noise, and you’d be turning up the television and the radio to hear the audio.

Profound – With this degree of hearing loss, you may struggle to hear sounds above 80 decibels. This includes the lawn mower, the snowblower, the average food blender, or a motorcycle. You wouldn’t hear a train whistle or the subway. You wouldn’t hear traffic noise inside your car. You would have difficulty hearing music at a piano recital in an average sized auditorium. Your personal listening devices would have to be turned up quite high for you to hear them – almost to the point of damaging your ear drums.

Visit Us at Exceptional Hearing Care

Now that you’ve reviewed the degrees of hearing loss, you can see what you’d miss if you don’t treat your hearing loss! There are many hearing aid models with diverse functions that can help you get back what you’ve lost. Contact us at Exceptional Hearing Care for a comprehensive hearing test today!