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How Do I Know if I Have Mild Hearing Loss?

a woman who has slight hearing loss in one ear

Mild loss of hearing is something that a lot of people experience with aging. Although it may cause a minimal change in day-to-day situations, it's often something that can become more problematic, for example, in a busy restaurant or at a crowded event. These kinds of difficulties can lead to a loss of social confidence – but the solution can be easily found with a trip to the audiologist. 

What is classified as mild hearing loss?

Even mild hearing loss still has an impact on your daily quality of life. Mild hearing loss usually involves a person finding it more challenging to hear individual sounds above certain decibel levels.

To put it in a technical context, hearing runs on a sliding scale from perfect to profoundly deaf, and a loss of anywhere from 20-39 decibels would count as a mild loss of hearing. This can occur in either one or both ears. There are two types of hearing loss – sensorineural or conductive, and mild loss of hearing can be caused by either.

The categories of hearing loss

There are actually four categorizations of hearing loss used by professionals. All are measured on a scale of decibels. However, many decibels you need to hear above normal range determines how mild or severe your hearing loss is categorized as:

  • A loss of between 20-39 decibels is classed as 'mild'
  • A loss of between 40-69 decibels is classed as 'moderate'
  • A loss of between 70-90 decibels is classed as 'severe'
  • A loss of more than 90 decibels is classed as 'profound'

This scale can give some context to your hearing loss issues. There is no 'cure' for mild hearing loss, but there are a variety of solutions to help manage it.

What are the causes of mild hearing loss?

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of mild hearing loss. These can include:

  • Trauma and injury to the ears or head
  • Prolonged exposure to loud noise
  • A perforated eardrum
  • Some kinds of viral infection
  • A build-up of too much earwax
  • Fluids trapped in the ear canal
  • Some people are born with the condition, while in others it starts to develop later on in life. The first step is to arrange an appointment with an audiologist, who can perform tests to determine the degree of severity and help to identify the causes of any hearing loss.

How is testing for mild hearing loss done?

Once you've taken the step of booking in for an appointment, you'll be ready for some hearing tests to help find out more about your personal situation. The main aim will be to find out at what level a sound needs to be before you can comfortably hear it.

A hearing test is conducted simply – you wear a headset while a variety of sounds are played, and your reactions are evaluated. You'll be played different pitches, volumes and frequencies of sound during your test. This establishes the degree of hearing loss at different frequencies. After the testing portion, your audiologist will sit down and discuss your results with you.

Making an appointment with an audiologist

It's important to seek proper diagnosis and assistance when you notice a change in your hearing. In cases such as hearing loss caused by an infection or wax build-up, delaying treatment can make the situation far worse. Earlier treatment can give you a much better outcome and help you get back to normal far quicker.

You may also want to consider how you can further protect your hearing. This can involve steps such as wearing earplugs in very noisy situations, moderating the volume you listen to music or television at, and making sure you book in for regular hearing tests to guard against any further deterioration in your hearing quality as well. 

Living with mild hearing loss

Life can be made easier for those experiencing mild hearing loss. It's all about making some simple swaps and adaptations. You may also want to consider the use of digital hearing aids. Modern designs are very discreet and sleek, and yet they have considerable amplification power that can make life a lot easier. Many types and styles are available, including models that can be adjusted using an app on your smartphone. Devices such as amplified telephone ringers and louder alarm clocks can also help.

Advanced Hearing Services can help you to diagnose and remedy any issues with mild hearing loss – learn more by calling 970-221-5249 today.