Hearing loss is a common condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. It can be caused by various factors, including age, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, and certain medical conditions. A hearing test is usually done to find out what kind of hearing loss a person has and how bad it is.
There are several types of hearing loss, each with its own characteristics and causes. These types include:
- Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when a problem with the outer or middle ear prevents sound waves from being conducted to the inner ear. Various factors, including fluid in the ear, a foreign object in the ear, and problems with the ear drum or ear bones, can cause it. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated with medication or surgery.
- Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve, which carries sound signals from the ear to the brain. It is often caused by age, exposure to loud noise, or certain medical conditions. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent and may be treated with hearing aids or other assistive devices.
- Mixed hearing loss combines conductive and sensorineural hearing losses, as the name implies. It can happen when the outer or middle ear, the inner ear, or the auditory nerve are not working right.
What kind of actions can a person take for every loss level?
Mild hearing loss:
A person with mild hearing loss may have difficulty hearing soft sounds or hearing in noisy environments. They may also have trouble following conversations, especially if there is more than one speaker. In this case, there are several things a person can do to improve their hearing:
- Wear hearing aids: hearing aids are small devices that amplify sound and can be worn in or behind the ear. They can help a person with mild hearing loss hear more clearly and participate in conversations more easily.
- Use assistive listening devices: Assistive listening devices (ALDs) amplify sound and can be used with hearing aids or on their own. They can include devices such as personal amplifiers, telecoils, and FM systems.
- Turn up the volume: For people with mild hearing loss, turning up the volume on the TV or radio can help them hear more clearly. It’s important to be mindful of the volume, as excessive volume can lead to further hearing loss.
- Lipreading: Lipreading uses visual cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language to understand what someone is saying. This can be helpful for people with mild hearing loss when trying to follow a conversation.
Moderate hearing loss:
A person with moderate hearing loss may have difficulty hearing everyday conversations and need to rely on lipreading to understand what is being said. In this case, the actions a person can take to improve their hearing include:
- Wear hearing aids: Hearing aids can be particularly helpful for people with moderate hearing loss, as they amplify sound and make it easier to follow conversations.
- ALDs can make sounds louder in certain situations, like when you are watching TV or taking part in a group conversation.
- Learn sign language: For people with moderate to severe hearing loss, learning sign language can be a helpful way to communicate and participate in conversations.
- Use written communication: Using written communication, such as text or email, can be useful for people with moderate hearing loss to communicate with others.
Severe hearing loss:
There are several actions that a person with severe hearing loss can take to improve their ability to hear and communicate:
- Use hearing aids: There are many different types of hearing aids available, and it’s important to work with an audiologist to find the right one for your specific needs.
- Use assistive technology: many of the assistive technologies available can help a person with severe hearing loss communicate more effectively. These can include devices that amplify sound, visual alert systems, and closed captioning on TV and other media.
- Join a support group: It can be helpful for a person with severe hearing loss to connect with others experiencing similar challenges. Many support groups and organisations offer resources and support for people with hearing loss.
What are hearing aids and when do they need to be worn?
Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear to amplify sound and improve hearing. People who have hearing loss, which can happen to anyone at any age and for many reasons, are often told to get them.
There are several types of hearing aids, including:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids: These hearing aids are worn behind the ear and are connected to a small plastic tube that fits into the ear canal. BTE hearing aids are suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: These hearing aids are custom-made to fit the shape of the ear and are worn in the ear canal. ITE hearing aids are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids: These hearing aids are also custom-made to fit the shape of the ear and are worn in the ear canal. ITC hearing aids are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids: These hearing aids are the smallest and least visible type of hearing aid. They are made to fit the shape of the ear and are worn completely inside the ear canal. CIC hearing aids are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
It is important to note that hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss but can improve hearing and communication in many situations. If you think you may benefit from a hearing aid, it is important to speak with an audiologist or hearing healthcare professional. They can assess your hearing and recommend the most appropriate type of hearing aid.
The hearing test
A hearing test, also known as an audiometric test, measures an individual’s hearing ability and determines the type and degree of hearing loss they are experiencing. The test is typically performed in a soundproof room by a trained audiologist and involves using headphones and a series of tones at different volumes and pitches. The person being tested will press a button or raise their hand when they can hear the tones.
The hearing test results are plotted on an audiogram, a graph showing the individual’s hearing threshold at different frequencies. The hearing threshold is the softest sound an individual can hear at each frequency. The higher the hearing threshold, the more severe the hearing loss. You can book a hearing test with a suitable service provider since it is important.
In conclusion, hearing loss can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life and can be caused by a variety of factors. A hearing test, also known as an audiometric test, is used to measure an individual’s hearing ability and determine the type and degree of hearing loss they are experiencing. The results of the test are plotted on an audiogram, which helps identify the type and severity of the hearing loss and guides treatment decisions.