You’ve likely heard the terms “hard of hearing” and “deaf” used to describe hearing loss, but they’re not interchangeable. In order to understand the distinction, we first need to review the different levels of hearing loss.
What Are the Levels of Hearing Loss?
There are four general levels, also called “degrees,” of hearing loss:
- Mild hearing loss describes difficulty hearing soft and subtle sounds like leaves rustling and birds chirping.
- Moderate hearing loss means trouble making out speech sounds at a normal volume level.
- Severe hearing loss indicates you can hear loud sounds or speech, but likely can’t hear conversation at a normal volume.
- Profound hearing loss is when only very loud sounds are audible, or none at all.
Someone with mild to severe hearing loss is said to be hard of hearing, while those with profound hearing loss are considered deaf.
Note that the Global Burden of Disease reports that any hearing loss above 35 dB is considered “disabling.”
Treatment Options for Hearing Loss
Treatment recommendations for hearing loss are highly varied and are determined on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, we will not list any of the possible treatments as options for any particular level of hearing loss. However, treatment may include one or a combination of the following:
- Earwax removal. It is sometimes the case that the underlying cause of hearing loss is impacted earwax, which can be removed quickly and easily in a doctor’s office.
- Hearing aids. Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds in the environment to a level the ears can detect. There are many styles of hearing aids to suit various types of hearing loss, budgets and aesthetic preferences.
- Assistive listening devices. These types of devices may be used alone or in conjunction with hearing aids. They include FM systems, captioned/amplified phones, alerting devices and much more.
- Surgical implants. Bone-anchored hearing aids are used to treat conductive hearing loss, while cochlear implants are used for sensorineural hearing loss.
- Corrective surgery. Sometimes hearing loss is caused by deformities of the ear, which may be corrected with surgery to improve the ability for soundwaves to travel through the ear.
For more information or to schedule a hearing test, call ENT of Georgia today!