The Four Levels of Hearing Loss – Where Do You Fit?

The Four Levels of Hearing Loss - Where Do You Fit?
Hearing loss is a common health problem that continues to affect millions of people all over the U.S. What makes it prevalent is the fact that many people are unaware of the condition. Those who are aware of it still do not consider it a serious illness. The main reason for this ignorance is attributed to the fact that hearing loss is a gradual process which worsens with age, and people often realize they have a hearing problem when it is too late. Moreover, the majority of people find out through family members or friends.

It is difficult for the sufferer to identify the problem.  In most cases, you see people raise the volume of the radio, TV, or ask others to repeat something during a conversation. However, having difficulties with your hearing ability is a serious health problem. Therefore, it is important to know the severity of the loss so that you can seek appropriate treatment.

Treatment of hearing loss depends on the type of hearing loss and causes. There are many solutions available that can be used to treat hearing loss. However, the treatment depends on your hearing test which determines the level of your hearing loss. The following are some of the most common levels of hearing loss as classified by audiologists.

1. Mild Hearing Loss

The quietest sounds people with mild hearing loss can hear are between 25 and 40 dB. This means they cannot hear sounds soft such as a ticking clock or dripping faucet. Although they can follow a one-on-one conversation, it can be difficult to catch every word in noisy environments. Fortunately, mild hearing loss can be rectified by using a hearing aid, which amplifies the low sounds and makes it easy to hear.

2. Moderate Hearing Loss

On average, someone with moderate hearing loss cannot hear sounds that are less than 40-75 dB. People with moderate hearing loss may have difficulty understanding normal speech. One may be unable to hear the ringing of a doorbell or a telephone. Also, it can be difficult to follow or hear sounds during normal conversations. Depending on an individual’s hearing health, a moderate hearing loss can also be improved by using a hearing aid or middle ear implants.

3. Severe Hearing Loss

A person with severe hearing loss can have difficulty following a conversation without wearing a hearing aid. It is almost impossible to understand normal speech when one is not wearing a hearing aid. Although a hearing aid can be helpful, in most cases they are not that efficient in improving the ability of hearing. One of the treatments that can effectively rectify severe hearing loss is middle ear implants if appropriate or cochlear implants.

4. Profound Hearing Loss

This is the most significant and severe level of hearing loss. People suffering from this degree of hearing loss cannot hear sounds softer than 90-120 dB. For those suffering from profound hearing loss, using a hearing aid is most often ineffective. Profound hearing loss makes it difficult to even hear loud sounds, such as airplane engines or fire alarms. People with this degree of hearing loss cannot hear at all and usually rely on lip-reading, gesture or other visual cues. Some people will decide to use sign language. One of the best solutions to profound hearing loss is a cochlear implant, which can help an individual hear and understand speech after surgery and with rehabilitation.