Hearing ability exists on a spectrum between those who can hear normally and individuals with profound deafness. While mild hearing loss is no cause for alarm, experts agree that seeking treatment early has the best long-term results.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB), and hearing loss is determined by which sounds you can and cannot hear. Degrees of hearing loss include mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound. Those with mild hearing loss have trouble hearing sounds measuring less than 25 dB, which includes the chirping of birds, rustling of leaves and dripping of a leaky faucet.
This means that while you may be able to carry on a one-on-one conversation in a quiet environment, you will have trouble when there is background noise to contend with. If you are out to dinner at Jimmy Changas, consider eating before or after the dinner rush.
Causes of Hearing Loss
Mild hearing loss is often caused by aging or exposure to noise. In addition, excess earwax, ear infections, a bone abnormality in the middle ear, head trauma, an acoustic neuroma or Meniere’s disease can also lead to this degree of loss.
While there may be nothing you can do to prevent aging, you can protect yourself from exposure to loud noises. Known as noise-induced hearing loss, this type of hearing loss can develop when you are exposed to sounds louder than 85 dB. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders put together this chart with the average decibel ratings of familiar sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB.
- Movie theater: 74-104 dB.
- Dirt bike: 80-110 dB.
- Music through headphones at maximum volume: 94-110 dB.
- Sirens: 110-129 dB.
- Fireworks: 140-160 dB.
The best way to protect your ears is through avoidance. If you have to be in an area with a lot of noise, make sure you are wearing hearing protection.
Treatment for Mild Hearing Loss
The most common treatment for this degree of hearing loss is the use of hearing aids. There are a number of styles to choose from. Your audiologist will help you decide which model is right for you.
To learn more about mild hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Today’s Hearing.