It’s easy to notice hearing loss, making the decision to fix it is more difficult. Once that hurdle is cleared, and you’re ready to buy hearing aids, it’s helpful to know how much hearing loss you have, and which frequencies are affected.
Types of hearing loss:
- High frequency hearing losses are the most common type. Nerves in the cochlea called hair cells become atrophied with age or damaged by exposure to loud noise. Symptoms include being able to hear but failing to understand speech. Background noise is becoming a problem. Although research is ongoing, regeneration of damaged hair cells is not presently possible humans.
- Flat losses, are common as well and are caused by problems with the transmission or conduction of sound from the ear drum into the cochlea. Many times the ossicles, which are the three tiny bones in the middle ear, become hardened or calcified. This inhibits the movement of the bones, which in turn reduces the volume of all sounds heard. Flat losses are more common in females than males. Symptoms include a gradual decrease in the volume of common sounds or being unable to hear at a distance. Medical procedures exist to correct conductive hearing loss, but be aware that they come with the risk of damaging your hearing.
Most hearing aids can be set up for either type of the hearing losses described above simply by selecting the correct dome. These are the soft pieces that fit on the end of the tube that gets inserted into the ear:
- High-frequency losses = Open domes
- Flat-Losses = Closed domes
Determining the Amount of Hearing Loss:
- Noticeable - Experiencing difficulty understanding speech in noise is the first sign of hearing loss for most people. One-on-one conversations in average noise levels are fine but as background noise increases it becomes harder to understand every word.
- Significant - Comfortable conversation is possible only in quiet situations. Vehicle and restaurant noise make understanding speech difficult. Turning up the TV volume and asking people to repeat themselves are irritating to the hearing impaired as well as family and friends. Untreated moderate hearing loss can be a gateway to serious health problems, reduced income, and a lower lifestyle.
- Severe - Severe loss of hearing is as disabling as losing an arm or leg. Any activity in your life that involves the sense of hearing is affected. For example, ordering a meal, buying groceries, engaging in sports, and music are only some of the abilities/activities that are likely to be negatively affected for a person with untreated severe hearing loss.
- Profound - Extreme or profound hearing loss is life changing. Only limited, face-to-face conversation with a person speaking slowly and loudly is possible. In the past people with profound hearing loss either learned American Sign Language (ASL) or became a non-functioning member of society and were often institutionalized. Now advanced hearing aid technology and cochlear implants make more normal lifestyles possible for deaf people. The earlier any level of hearing loss, especially profound, is treated the more hope there is of overcoming this disability.
Now that the satisfaction of customers spending hundreds on basic hearing aids rivals that of customers spending thousands on premium hearing aids, ensuring you hear opportunity’s knock is easier and more affordable than ever.