Let's face it, hearing aids are expensive. Anyone who has spent time getting their hearing tested along with purchasing a hearing aid from an audiologist knows just how expensive that can be. The other reality of hearing aids is that many people simply cannot afford them. We are often asked by people looking at our website which model is best. It is not an easy answer as each individual will have a hearing aid that is "best" for them. We will cover some forms of hearing loss and how to self diagnose yourself and make an informed decision on what is best for you. There is no question that a licensed audiologist with proper testing equipment will have the best diagnoses for you. This article is not meant to replace the opinion of an audiologist, rather it is meant to help you judge for yourself what kind of hearing loss you have.
Grades of Hearing Impairment
World Health Organization
|Grade of Impairment||Audiometric ISO Value||Performance||Recommendations|
|0 - No impairment||25 dB or better
|No or very slight hearing problems. Able to hear whispers.|
|1 - Slight impairment||26-40 dB
|Able to hear and repeat words spoken in normal voice at 1 metre.||Counselling. Hearing aids may be needed.|
|2 - Moderate impairment||41-60 dB
|Able to hear and repeat words spoken in raised voice at 1 metre.||Hearing aids usually recommended.|
|3 - Severe impairment||61-80 dB
|Able to hear some words when shouted into better ear.||Hearing aids needed. If no hearing aids available, lip-reading and signing should be taught.|
|4 - Profound impairment including deafness||81 dB or greater
|Unable to hear and understand even a shouted voice.||Hearing aids may help understanding words. Additional rehabilitation needed. Lip-reading and sometimes signing essential.|
Grades 2, 3 and 4 are classified as disabling hearing impairment.
The audiometric ISO values are averages of values at 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 Hz.
Within these grades of hearing loss there are sub-categories that distinguish the pitch of sound you can hear:
1) High Frequency Loss - Generally understood as the voices of women or children.
2) Low Frequency Loss - Often the deeper sound the voice of men.
These are a few of the issues that one will run into when dealing with hearing loss. Again, a licensed audiologist will offer the best evaluation of your hearing, however the information above can certainly help one self diagnose their hearing needs. As always, if you have any specific questions you need answered, please let us know!