Hearing loss is a common medical issue, with an estimated 15% of American adults over the age of 18 struggling with some degree of hearing loss. If caught early enough, hearing loss can be more easily managed, making early detection critical in halting the progression of hearing loss.
To help you identify if you have hearing loss, our audiologist at Echo Hearing Center wanted to define just what hearing loss it, the types you may experience, how to prevent further hearing loss and other important details which can help you determine what to do to preserve and protect your hearing.
Defining Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is defined as having a restricted hearing range. However, if measured by decibel (dB)—a unit of measurement which indicates sound intensity—until an individual can no longer hearing below 25 dB, they aren’t considered to have hearing loss.
As regular speech is generally measured around 55-60 dB, it is pretty easy for hearing loss to go unnoticed, since it doesn’t impact most people’s interactions with others.
Levels Of Hearing Loss
The various levels of hearing loss are measured by decibel. These degrees of hearing loss are divided as the more severe the hearing loss, the stronger the measures which need to be used to help you regain your hearing.
Below is a chart on the various levels of hearing loss. Depending on your hearing loss, you may not hear decibels under a certain volume intensity.
Level of hearing loss – Hearing loss by decibel
Normal hearing – 10 to 15 dB
Slight – 16 to 25 dB
Mild – 26 to 40 dB
Moderate – 41 to 55 dB
Moderately – severe 56 to 70 dB
Severe – 71 to 90 dB
Profound – 91+ dB
Types Of Hearing Loss
There is more than one type of hearing loss. How these different kinds of hearing loss are determined are due to what area in the auditory system is being affected.
Sensorineural hearing loss – One of the most common forms of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss happens when the inner ear is affected negatively. Generally, it is due to the sound-transmitting hairs in the cochlea being damaged by loud noise exposure.
Conductive hearing loss – If there are problems in the middle or outer ear, this type of hearing loss is identified as conductive hearing loss. Unless a person undergoes trauma to damage the bones in the middle ear or eardrum, this type of hearing loss is generally present at birth.
Mixed hearing loss – Just as the name implies, mixed hearing loss is when a person has both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.
Auditory neuropathy – A less common source of hearing loss, auditory neuropathy is when the cochlear nerve has difficulty transmitting and processing sound information. Often, complications at birth and neurological conditions are at the source of this type of hearing loss.
Here at our Denver hearing clinic, our audiologist specializes in sensorineural hearing loss, which has different tests and treatments associated with it than the other forms of hearing loss. When you come in for a comprehensive hearing evaluation, our audiologist will be able to assess if you have sensorineural hearing loss or if you need to be referred to another specialist.
Preventing Hearing Loss
It is far easier to prevent hearing loss than to correct it. If you are serious about protecting your hearing, try implementing these things into your life:
- Keep the volume on your media below 60% of the max volume. If you are wearing earbuds or noise-canceling headphones, try to stay below 45-50%. These types of devices can deliver sound more directly and can impact your hearing more profoundly.
- Carry a pair of disposable earplugs to protect you from loud noise exposure during concerts and other loud activities. Remember, there are sound-conducting bones around your ears, so if you are going target shooting or hunting, earmuffs are a better form of protection.
- Go in for a checkup if you have ear pain, feeling of fluid buildup, or any other sudden changes in how you normally hear.
- Visit our hearing clinic for annual hearing tests. That way, you can establish a baseline, and our audiologist can catch any hearing loss early.
How You Can Tell You Have Hearing Loss
There are many signs that you can look for to indicate that you have a degree of hearing loss. Some of the most common signs are:
- Your tinnitus symptoms have increased in intensity and don’t go away like they used to.
- Social situations often make you uncomfortable, as you cannot follow multiple voices speaking.
- It often sounds like people are whispering or mumbling their words.
- You generally need all your media devices turned up to the max volume to hear them.
- Softer sounds, such as the wind in the trees, can no longer be heard.
Hearing Aids For Hearing Loss
When it comes to sensorineural hearing loss, there is no way to undo or permanently fix the source of the hearing loss. However, with hearing aids, much of your hearing can be recovered.
There are many different hearing aid brands and styles available, and our hearing specialist can work with you to determine what hearing aids are right for your hearing needs. As there have been many advancements in the hearing technology industry, you may be surprised by how much hearing aids can help you reconnect with the sounds around you.
Work With Echo Hearing Center To Overcome Your Hearing Loss
Here at Echo Hearing Center, we specialize in helping people overcome hearing loss through a variety of audiology services, such as:
- In-depth hearing examinations
- Hearing aid dispensing
- Tinnitus treatment
- Hearing aid repair
Through these services and others, we have been proud to provide our audiology help to the Denver community as well as surrounding areas. We are ready to help you overcome your hearing loss and reconnect with your friends and family. Contact us today to start your journey to better hearing.