People with hearing loss often downplay the severity of their condition, saying things like, “My hearing loss isn’t that bad” or “I can hear, but I can’t understand.” It is important to understand the different degrees of hearing loss and how they can affect our daily lives. Let’s explore this further.
Normal – Hearing falls in the range of normal hearing sensitivity. Therefore, hearing aids are not needed; however, even individuals with normal hearing sensitivity can have difficulty with background noise.
Mild – People with mild hearing loss may have difficulty hearing soft-spoken people and young children in complex listening environments. They may have to ask others to repeat themselves occasionally.
Moderate – Without hearing aids, certain speech sounds can be inaudible. Increased difficulty in background noise and busy listening environments.
Severe – Without hearing aids, conversational speech is often inaudible.
Profound – Likely unable to hear very loud sounds (airplane, siren, fire alarms).
Hearing loss affects our ability to communicate and can also increase the risk of dementia. According to a longitudinal study conducted at Johns Hopkins, individuals with mild hearing loss have twice the risk of developing dementia. This risk triples for those with moderate hearing loss and increases to five times for those with severe hearing loss. Additionally, hearing loss may lead to faster rates of brain atrophy.
Research on brain health has shown that early intervention in hearing loss is crucial. However, on average, those who use hearing aids wait 7-10 years before seeking help. Being proactive in addressing hearing loss is vital to promote brain health.
At Columbus Speech & Hearing, our expert Audiologists are ready to help and support you on your journey to better hearing. Call us today for an appointment!