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Posted on Monday, June 03, 2013

What is hearing loss?

Couple begins to understand what is hearing loss.

Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in a person’s ability to detect noise, voices, tones, pitch, frequency, or language. This deficit can be severe and very noticeable or mild and easily missed or mistaken. Hearing loss is a common problem and can be related to aging, noise, disease, or heredity, but there are many factors surrounding this complex condition that can better answer the question of what is hearing loss.

What are the Different Types of Hearing Loss?

Understanding what hearing loss is means knowing the categories that every range of hearing loss falls within. Hearing loss is categorized according to the part of the ear it affects. There are three main types of hearing loss—sensorineural (inner ear damage), conductive (outer or middle ear damage), and mixed (a combination of inner, and outer or middle ear damage).

What are the Different Degrees of Hearing Loss?

To understand what hearing loss is and the individual degrees of hearing loss, you must first understand that the loudness of sounds is defined in terms of a scale called decibels dB. How well a person can hear is determined by the lowest to highest threshold of decibels that he or she can perceive at different frequencies or the number of waves a sound produces per second. Below is a list of ranges of normal to profound hearing loss.

  • Normal Hearing (-10 to +15 dB)
  • Mild Hearing Loss (16 to 40 dB)
  • Moderate Hearing Loss (41 to 55 dB)
  • Moderate-Severe Hearing Loss (56 to 70 dB)
  • Severe Hearing Loss (71 to 90 dB)
  • Profound Hearing Loss (91+ dB)
  • What are Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss?

    Although hearing loss is unique to each individual there are common symptoms of hearing loss that can help you better understand hearing loss.

  • Television Volume--Needing to turn the television up louder than others say is comfortable can be a sign of hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus-- A ringing or buzzing in the ears that can be high pitched, intermittent or constant. It might also be a symptom of things other than hearing loss.
  • Inability to Hear High-Pitched Sounds-- A phone ringing, a child's cry, the trill of a bird are high-pitched sounds that can begin to fade as a person develops hearing loss.
  • Asking People to Repeat Things-- Having to frequently ask people to repeat things doesn't always mean you're having problems paying attention. It might actually indicate hearing loss.
  • Difficulty Hearing Feminine or Child Voices-- Feminine voices and those of children are heard at a higher register, so an inability to hear these types of voices can be a symptom of hearing loss.
  • Inability to Understand in Crowds-- An inability to hear people within the confines of a crowded restaurant or room.
  • Depression-- Hearing loss can create a sense of isolation that leads to withdraw from society and depression.
  • What are Common Signs of Hearing Loss?

    Symptoms of hearing loss are often medical, whereas a sign of hearing loss are better defined as a habit that someone with hearing loss may do without recognizing that they have begun to rely on this technique to help them navigate the hearing world.

  • Lip Reading:
 Lip reading is a subtle habit that people who have hearing loss develop almost unconsciously.
  • Volume Manipulation:
 Hiring the television volume may seem like harmless habit, but it can be a sign of hearing loss.
  • Overcompensation: 
Speaking too loudly, laughing when uncertain, and misreading social cues are all signs of hearing loss.
  • Pretense: 
Smiling, nodding, or pretending to understand what has been said.
  • Isolation:
 Withdrawing from social and everyday experiences in order to avoid having to deal with not being able to hear or understand people.
  • Where Can I go to Get Help for My Hearing Loss?

    Although hearing is a complex sense, successfully treating hearing loss has never been easier. An audiologist is a hearing health professional with eight years or more of education in hearing and rehabilitation of hearing. A Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) is highly qualified to help prevent, identify, and assess hearing disorders, as well as to provide treatment. Finding a trusted Doctor of Audiology is key to helping not only understand your hearing loss, but to treat it. Hearing loss is individualized and requires individualized treatments. Not even people who have the same degree or level of hearing loss will require the same treatment, and if a hearing aid is required it needs to be precisely fit and tuned or the device will not perform at its technological best.

    If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

    ©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates 225 Wilmington - West Chester Pike, Suite 300 Chadds Ford, PA 19317888.575.2511
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