Are you suspecting that you are suffering from hearing loss? Well, the next question in mind would be, do I need hearing assist? Or perhaps, what level of hearing loss requires a hearing aid? In such a situation, visiting an audiologist would be a great idea.
Using an Audiogram, the hearing specialist will be able to diagnose the state of your hearing. And thereafter, give you the result from the finding plus recommendation on the way forward. But besides the audiogram test, you may undergo hearing assessment under different sound conditions.
And this is to confirm whether you are suffering from hearing loss or not. That said, here is a comprehensive guide on hearing loss. it will assist you in self-diagnosis and decoding whether you need to visit a specialist for further tests. Also, it will enable you to determine whether you will need to use a hearing aid in the future. Let’s start:
What’s Hearing Loss?
In Layman’s term, Hearing Loss is a condition where you cannot perceive sound. It can occur mildly, partially, moderately completely. Further, this condition can either affect either ears or both of them. And it’s usually a deterioration process that occurs slowly but progressively. So, if you are suffering from it, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Indication of Hearing Loss
How will you know that you are suffering from hearing loss? Well, the following signs will assist you in self-diagnosis:
- Frequent complains that people around you are speaking softly or mumbling when conversing.
- Often, you are straining to hear during conversation and this is common especially when it’s a group of people.
- You are unable to comprehend what someone is saying especially through a phone or when you are not facing each other
- You are becoming more impatient and feeling frustrated than normal.
- You cannot perceive or comprehend what’s been said when in a meeting or worshipping hall.
- It’s becoming hard to follow up the movie dialogue especially in a theater setting.
- Prefer to listen to the radio or television at a loud volume.
- Often asking people to come again in when conversing.
Categories of Hearing Loss
So, if you have any of the above signs, then the likelihood of suffering from hearing loss is higher. Therefore, the next step is to determine the degree of hearing loss that you are suffering from. And in this case, let’s learn about the various categories of hearing loss. Note, the following categories of hearing are according to HHF (Hearing Health Foundation)
Profound (over 91db)
At this level, you are unable to perceive sounds that are below 91 decibels. That means you cannot operate without a hearing aid at this level, says HHF. Thus, very loud sounds like fire alarm and traffic at this point are inaudible. And even with a hearing aid, it will still feel uncomfortable as they can be very loud at times.
But you can rely on advanced hearing aids that support personal sound amplification. With such devices, you can use a custom setting to set your preferable volume. What’s more, these devices will work perfectly with wireless devices like media players or phones. However, you cannot escape from cochlear surgery when you are at this level.
Severe (71-91 db)
With Severe, any sound below 71-91 decibels is inaudible. And this includes sounds like motorcycle noise close by. Also, you will not be able to converse or hear speeches at this level, says HHF. But with advanced hearing aids, this will be possible.
Moderate – Severe (56-70 db)
Any sound below 56-70 decibels is inaudible. Therefore, you won’t be able to hear the sound of a washing machine when on as well as the dishwasher. Further, conversation and speech also will be inaudible. But if you can get your hands on advanced hearing aids with digital programming, this is possible. Such devices will improve speech clarity without enhancing the volume.
Moderate (41-55 db)
You have a hard time perceiving all sounds that are below 41-55 decibel. This means that noises from your refrigerator, speech, or normal conversation are inaudible. Often, you may find yourself asking people to be louder or come again during conversations.
And before the situation at this level worsens and move to the next level, a great number of people use hearing aids. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple hearing assist will do.
Mild (25-40 db)
This is the first stage of hearing loss. It’s very difficult to comprehend soft conversations, especially in areas with background noises.
There are no indications of hearing loss. You can hear everything clearly from faint conversation to speech in areas with background noise.
What Role Do Hearing Aids Play if You Have Hearing Loss?
From the definition, hearing loss means some sound frequencies become difficult to comprehend. And this is where the hearing aids become useful. They amplify the sound to a level that is perceivable by the ears.
So, depending on the impact of your hearing loss, you can choose hearing aids that will cover your need. For instance, if you are in the mild phase (25-40) you can use the manual or simplest hearing assists. But as it progresses from moderate to profound level, you need advanced hearing aids.
These kinds come with personal sound amplification for better comprehension of sound. But note, the hearing aids are simply there to amplify the sound. So if you need treatment, a surgical transplant may work.
So, what level of hearing loss requires a hearing aid? There is no conclusive answer as it depends on you. There are some individuals on the moderate level but they seem to take it well. While in some occasions, you may find an individual in the mild level struggling to hear and understand.
And it’s all because we have different capabilities when it comes to the processing of sounds. And these capabilities can be altered by health status, age, and cognitive ability. As stated in this text, start with a specialist test, and thereafter you can choose whether to use a hearing aid or not, based on the result.