Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions in the US today. It affects millions of Americans, and unfortunately, that number is set to rise unless we work together to educate our Maryland communities.
Hearing loss is so abundant due, in part, to how gradually it progresses. This gives a person time to adjust and adapt. They may be able to hide it from their loved ones and co-workers for years.
Hearing loss gradually progresses without any professional help. Partnering with an audiologist early on not only improves your hearing, but it also slows the progression.
The stage at which your hearing loss is at will determine our best course of action. We are equipped to help people at any stage, but early prevention is the key to protecting your hearing for the long term.
What Is Considered Hearing Loss?
In the very early stages of hearing loss, we consider any degree of hearing loss that is outside of the normal range of hearing (0-20dB) a hearing loss.
This would also apply to individuals with normal hearing thresholds but who have difficulty understanding or processing speech. Individuals usually adapt by reading lips and body language.
However, with the introduction of masks to our lives, we are seeing more people struggling in this situation. They are realizing how much they depend on body language and visual cues just to understand basic speech to effectively communicate.
What Are The Different Stages Of Hearing Loss?
While everyone is different, we recognize some key thresholds in each patient. Just because you’re at one stage now doesn’t mean you will stay there forever. Without the proper care and treatment, your hearing could decline further and faster than before.
Mild Hearing Loss
A mild hearing loss would be anyone with a hearing loss in the range of 20-40dB.
Individuals with a mild hearing loss would absolutely be candidates for treatment such as hearing aids. If you are experiencing difficulty in your daily life as a result of your hearing loss, then it’s a sure sign that professional intervention is required.
Moderate Hearing Loss
A moderate hearing loss would range from 40-60/65dB.
Hearing aids or other means of amplification, such as cochlear implants, may be appropriate. This depends on other factors such as word understanding or speech discrimination, impact on your life and communication, and how successful you have been or may be with amplification.
Severe/Profound Hearing Loss
A severe hearing loss would fall in the range of 70-90dB, and 90+dB would be considered profound.
Treatment for individuals with this degree of loss would include amplification of varying types such as hearing aids or cochlear implants. It depends on other factors such as success with amplification in the past, speech discrimination, and/or overall health, etc.
We gather all this information during your comprehensive hearing assessment. This test gives us all the information we need to prescribe the best solution for you and your unique needs.
High-Frequency Hearing Loss
A high-frequency hearing loss would generally be described as speech sounding like it is lacking clarity.
Patients with this type of loss often complain that they hear ok, but it sounds like people are not speaking clearly or are mumbling. Volume tends to be less of an issue with this hearing loss, and clarity or understanding is often reported as the primary concern.
For a hearing loss to be considered “deaf,” an individual would have no functional hearing left. Meaning they are not benefited by amplification and do not have any speech discrimination ability left.
What Does Hearing Loss Sound Like?
Even though patients have trouble hearing the TV or keeping up with a conversation, that doesn’t mean they hear silence. Hearing loss could sound like any number of things, from muffled or decreased volume to distorted speech.
Some may experience a lack of clarity in conversation or feel as though your ears are clogged like you’re “underwater” or on an airplane. This could vary significantly based on the individual person and the type and degree of hearing loss they have.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Hearing Loss?
If you feel like you’re having any degree of difficulty with hearing, then schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment with us to be evaluated. We are also available over the phone to answer any questions you may have.
Your hearing loss may be temporary and caused by something as simple as impacted earwax or an ear infection, which can be treated at Audiology Associates. The sooner hearing challenges are addressed and assessed, the better outcomes we tend to see with patients.