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Not All Hearing Loss is The Same: Understanding The Degrees of Hearing Loss

January 28, 2016

You may think that hearing loss is all the same, but there are varying degrees of hearing loss.  The degree of hearing loss in any individual is tested by the softest sounds that a person can detect at different pitches.  If you’ve just started learnoing about hearing loss or if it has been some time since your last hearing test, contact Resonance Hearing Aids to schedule an audiogram test to see if you are experience any degree of hearing loss. 
It is important to note that someone may have a different degree of hearing loss at different pitches.  For example, someone might have a mild hearing loss in the low frequencies, but a profound hearing loss in the high frequencies, which means that they could hear a large dog barking, but not the ringing of a telephone.  The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defined five degrees of hearing loss, from the least to the most significant: mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound.
  1. Mild Hearing Loss – Someone with mild hearing loss cannot hear many sounds softer than 26–40 dB. This means they can hear a person’s inside voice, which is about 60dB, but not softer sounds like a ticking clock, dripping faucet, or many of the softer sounds of speech. Someone with mild hearing loss may want to seek out hearing aids, which amplify these quiet sounds with a speaker to make them easier to hear.
  2. Moderate Hearing Loss – A moderate degree of hearing loss, if untreated, can affect a person’s daily life in a significant way. Someone with moderate hearing loss cannot hear sounds softer than 41–55 dB. This means that they may be unable to hear sounds like normal conversation (60 dB) or the ringing of a telephone or doorbell and require a higher volume level on the television or radio to hear.
  3. Moderately Severe Hearing Loss – Moderately severe hearing loss will almost always affect a person’s daily life. Someone with severe hearing loss cannot hear sounds softer than 56–70 dB. This means they may be unable to hear sounds like loud conversation or traffic noise; speech must be louder than usual and group conversations can be difficult to hear as the clarity of speech is often affected. 
  4. Severe Hearing Loss – Severe hearing loss will almost always affect a person’s daily life.  Someone with severe hearing loss cannot hear sounds softer than 71 – 90 dB.  With severe hearing loss, regular speaking level is usually inaudible and may even have difficulty with loud speech.  Shouting or amplification of sound is the only way it may be heard.   Depending on the person’s health, solutions to severe hearing loss could include more powerful hearing aids, middle ear implants, or bone conduction implants.   
  5. Profound Hearing Loss – The most significant degree of hearing loss. Someone with profound hearing loss cannot hear sounds softer than 91–120 dB. This means that they may be unable to hear very loud sounds like airplane engines, trucks moving down the road, or fire alarms. For someone with profound hearing loss, hearing aids will likely be ineffective and a cochlear implant may be the best solution.
If you’ve begun to experience difficulty hearing others or it’s been a while since you’ve had your hearing checked, the first step is finding out if a hearing aid will help you is to get your hearing tested.  Resonance hearing Aids recommends choosing a local provider to obtain a hearing test. If your audiogram results show that you have some degree of hearing loss, the good news is that today’s hearing aids are easier to use and sound more natural than ever.  At Resonance Hearing Aids, we’ve simplified the process of choosing the right hearing aid.  Just choose the hearing aids that match up with your listening lifestyle, we’ll program them based to your submitted audiogram, and ship the hearing aids directly to you!  Contact Resonance Hearing Aids today; we were formed out of a desire to empower individuals through better hearing.  We believe communication is one of the keys to happiness and success in life and the ability to hear verbal communication, along with the subtleties of our world, should be attainable to anyone.