There's a big difference between being able to hear perfectly and being completely deaf. Hearing loss almost always happens gradually and can be measured in four degrees. We'll take a look at these four degrees of hearing loss and how to better identify each of them.
Mild Hearing Loss
Mild hearing loss refers to a hearing loss range of 21 to 45 decibels. At this degree, you will have difficulty hearing softer conversations, but you shouldn't have a lot of trouble hearing people speak in most situations. The problems faced by someone with mild hearing loss can usually be restored with the correct diagnosis and right hearing aid.
Moderate Hearing Loss
Moderate hearing loss is in a range of 46 to 65 decibels. At this degree of hearing loss, conversations will be more difficult to hear even when the speaker is using a relatively normal tone of voice as opposed to speaking softly. The problem will be even worse if there is background noise from a television or radio. A hearing aid that allows the wearer to discern a speaking voice will work for most cases of moderate hearing loss.
Severe Hearing Loss
Severe hearing loss, or hearing loss within a range of 66 to 90 decibels, means that normal conversational speech is nearly inaudible without a hearing aid. Even then, the listener won't be able to hear conversational speech clearly and will have to rely on visual cues during conversations.
Profound Hearing Loss
Profound hearing loss is any hearing loss above 91 decibels. When hearing loss is this severe, you will be able to hear very loud noises but not much more. Spoken conversations are all but impossible even with intense concentration and effort.
At this degree of hearing loss, people are considered to be completely deaf or very close to it. Some people with profound hearing loss have been able to restore some hearing with the right hearing aid, but that isn't always reliable.
Because hearing loss happens so gradually, you will need to speak to a doctor of audiology and undergo a hearing test to determine if you have a problem. While hearing loss is almost always irreversible, a hearing aid can improve your ability to understand conversational speech and communicate properly.
No matter how severe your hearing loss may be, there is still a chance you can recover some of your hearing ability with the proper device. As always, speak to your doctor about hearing aids that may be right for you and what you can do to preserve your hearing and prevent hearing loss.