The easy answer is yes there are different degrees of hearing loss. What is harder for most people to understand is the impact this has on exactly what someone does or doesn’t hear. We hear this story (or some version of this story) quite often.
“When I sit beside my husband on the couch and talk to him, he can hear me without a problem. As soon as he turns on the TV…, which is louder than, I would like it to be…I can still hear him, but he can’t hear me anymore. Why?”
That’s an excellent question. More than likely your husband has a mild to moderate hearing loss. Which means that in a quiet listening environment although he isn’t hearing like someone with normal hearing he is able to get by well enough to understand what you are saying. His problem becomes abundantly clear to you and to those around you as soon as there is any competing noise.
Last week we discussed the different types of hearing loss, (conductive, sensorineural, mixed and central). Each type of hearing loss can be further defined by the degree, roughly defined as the “amount” of hearing loss you have as determined by the results of a hearing test.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
The degree of hearing loss is commonly broken down into the following categories:
Mild hearing loss – Someone with a mild hearing loss will not usually notice a problem in a quieter listening situation. As the noise level increases they will begin to have difficulty following conversations. Often times this type of loss is noticed by friends and family long before the person with the problem realizes that they have a problem.
Moderate hearing loss – Someone with a moderate hearing loss will struggle to hear in quiet and is usually unable to follow a conversation in the presence of noise. At this point they know they have a problem (whether they will admit it out loud is a different story).
Severe hearing loss – Someone with a severe hearing loss is typically unable to hear speech even in quiet surroundings. Communicating with someone who has a severe hearing loss and doesn’t wear a hearing aid is an extremely difficult and exhausting experience.
Profound hearing loss – Someone with a profound hearing loss is unable to hear most sounds unless they are extremely loud. People in this category may or may not benefit from the use of a hearing aid.
The degree of hearing loss is just one factor we consider when deciding the best approach to helping you to hear as well as you possibly can. Don’t spend another day on the couch arguing over who said what and whether or not the TV is too loud. We help the hearing impaired improve their quality of life every single day.