Hearing specialists measure the severity of a person’s hearing loss in two ways. They consider how loud something must be before you hear it and what frequencies are difficult for you to hear. As people age, it becomes likely that they would lose their hearing, and it is essential to note that even slight loss could be associated with cognitive decline. As such, all hearing loss should be treated with hearing aids or similar measures. Here is a closer look at how audiologists measure hearing loss.
How Specialists Measure Sound
Decibels (dB) is the unit of measurement describing the loudness of a sound. To give you a frame of reference, a person’s breathing is at approximately ten decibels, and a normal conversation registers anywhere from 40 to 60 decibels. A lawnmower will produce sounds at 90 decibels, a rock concert at 120, and a gunshot at 140.
Sounds at 120 decibels are already uncomfortable to human ears, and 140 is the threshold of pain. Prolonged exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels can cause damage and noise-induced hearing loss.
Audiologists also measure sound through pitch or frequency, and the unit they use is Hertz (Hz). Tests of hearing ability fall within the 250 to 8000 Hertz range, encompassing typical human speech frequencies.
What Are the Degrees of Hearing Loss?
Your hearing specialist will measure the degree of hearing loss in each ear by recording how your ears react to sounds at different Hertz and decibels. A person with slight hearing loss will find it challenging to hear sounds fainter than 15 decibels like rustling leaves or whispers. In children, audiologists treat this level of hearing loss with hearing aids.
A person with mild hearing loss cannot hear sounds between 26 to 40 decibels. If you are alright with one-on-one conversations but cannot hear some words when there is background noise, you might have hearing loss at this level. People with moderate hearing loss, meanwhile, cannot hear sounds lower than 40 decibels. Standard hearing aids can mitigate both moderate and mild hearing loss.
If you cannot hear normal conversation, you may have severe hearing loss even in a quiet room. People with this degree of loss cannot hear sounds lower than 70 to 94 decibels. Finally, you have profound hearing loss if you can only hear loud sounds. People with this degree of loss cannot hear anything lower than 95 decibels.
How Specialists Measure Hearing Loss
Do not attempt to self-diagnose your degree of hearing loss. Make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional; your physician might have one to recommend. If not, consult a local directory for ones in your area. Your hearing professional will administer a series of tests, and the outcome of these is known as an audiogram. This graph shows the softest sounds you heard during the examination.
Based on the lifestyle information you provide and the audiogram results, a hearing healthcare professional can recommend a treatment schedule for you. This treatment course may include enrollment in auricular therapy or the purchase of hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can contribute to other health-related problems like dementia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
Sound is an innate part of most people’s daily experiences, but a significant portion of the global population is hard of hearing. If you suspect that you have hearing loss, consult a hearing specialist near you. Untreated loss can lead to the development of other long-term and chronic ailments, so you should address it as soon as possible.
Get your hearing tested at Boston’s most trusted hearing care specialists. At Hear More Associates, the most important thing is patient trust. Our expert team of hearing specialists provides advanced hearing care and the best hearing aids for your unique circumstances and lifestyle. Schedule an appointment today!