Hearing loss – Know The Degrees Of Severity
Hearing loss is very individual. That’s why a specialized exam is necessary to determine the degree of loss you may have. The typical test for hearing loss consists of listening to a range of tones presented to each ear through earphones. Your perceived loudness levels of these tones — as measured in decibels (dB) — are recorded on a graph called an audiogram. Perhaps surprisingly, hearing isn’t described as an overall “percentage of loss,” but as the inability to hear a range of different frequencies. That’s why any two people with hearing loss will have very different experiences and needs.
“Frequency” is an important measurement in hearing, quantifying the pitch of sounds from very low (like thunder) to very high (like a squeak or whistle). People often experience hearing loss at different frequencies — so even when people listen to a range of sounds at exactly the same volume, they hear them quite differently, or may not be able to hear some of them at all.
In order to determine the degree of a person’s hearing loss, a hearing care professional can perform threshold testing to determine the lowest dB level at which you can hear a tone in a particular frequency range. Your response to these different frequencies becomes your personal hearing diagnosis.
A Hearing impairment is considered to be a loss of more than 40 decibels. Hearing loss can be described according to severity, as follows:
Mild (26 – 40 dB HL threshold)
With mild loss, it’s difficult to hear soft speech or distinguish sounds when there is background noise, putting these listeners at a disadvantage in many everyday social and working situations.
Moderate (41 – 70 dB HL threshold)
Moderate loss makes it difficult to hear conversations, especially when there is background noise. You might have to turn the TV or radio volume up to hear it clearly. Following conversations takes more effort and may leave you feeling especially tired at the end of the day.
Severe (71 – 90 dB HL threshold)
With severe hearing loss, normal conversations are not audible. Even louder than normal speech may be difficult to hear or understand. People with severe hearing loss are only able to hear speech when it is amplified — by shouting, turning up the volume, or with the assistance of high-power hearing aids. Social isolation can be a real concern for this population.
Profound (91 dB HL or higher threshold)
People with profound hearing loss may have difficulty understanding even amplified speech. They may avoid conversations and become extremely isolated in both personal and professional situations. This can be devastating if unaddressed.
If you have concerns about your own hearing, you should consider a hearing check-up and evaluation from a hearing care provider. There are hearing aid solutions available for mild to severe to profound hearing losses.
Advanced and innovative technology can address a wide variety of challenges that may accompany hearing loss. Call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ today at 772-286-4327 to schedule a free hearing evaluation with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist, and get the treatment you need to make Everyday Sounds Better.