Hearing loss is a serious problem, which inevitably leads to a deterioration in the quality of life. Hearing impairment usually causes anxiety, depression, cognitive decine, weakening of thought processes, falls that are dangerous to health, as well as learning difficulties.
And the fact that you constantly have to ask the speaker again does not add self-confidence. This is how psychological problems develop.
In most patients, hearing loss occurs gradually. The average period from the first onset of symptoms to medical examination, in this case, is 5-7 years. Unfortunately, late diagnosis of the problem complicates treatment, which in turn complicates successful rehabilitation and return to normal life. That is why we decided to pay special attention to mild hearing loss, which, despite the name, can lead to serious consequences.
What is mild hearing loss and what are its effects?
The definition of “mild” hearing loss implies a certain frivolity, even triviality of the problem. But this impression is deceiving. If you deny the problem and refuse the help of an audiologist, you risk bringing your hearing to the point where its steadily progressive deterioration becomes irreversible. In this case, the correction might be very difficult.
What is mild hearing loss? To answer this question, you first need to understand what a person’s auditory range is. We are surrounded by a huge variety of sounds, from the barely audible singing of birds and rustling of leaves to louder sounds such as music, screams, and industrial noise. This set of sounds is called the hearing range. The range of human auditory perception includes pitch (high or low) and loudness. Pitch is measured in hertz (Hz), loudness in decibels (dB).
For a normal hearing person, the range of auditory perception begins at low frequencies, around 20 Hz. At the other end of the range lies the highest frequency that does not cause discomfort (20,000 Hz). Regarding loudness, a person distinguishes sounds starting from 0 dB. Sounds above 85 dB can be harmful if the effects are prolonged.
It follows that mild hearing loss is the loss of the ability to perceive sounds quieter than 15 dB (for children) or 25 dB (for adults). At the same time, a person can hardly hear both low and high sounds in this sound range. This, in the future, if treatment is not followed, increases the likelihood of developing high-frequency hearing loss.
People with mild impairment stop paying attention to quiet background sounds, such as birds singing, clock ticking, water droplets, etc. At the same time, a person does not lose the ability to perceive speech if the speaker is close or the conversation takes place in the absence of background noise. But if the conditions change slightly (the sound source is moving away or a distracting noise appears), then human speech turns into a speaker muttering. There is a feeling of an invisible barrier preventing normal sound perception. The most pronounced indicator of mild hearing loss is the impaired perception of calm speech or whispering from a distance of 3-4 meters.
Mild hearing loss in most cases does not interfere with everyday tasks, so people are in no hurry to seek help. Besides, the problem is developing gradually. Many patients simply do not notice the first symptoms and eventually get used to living with them until the problem worsens. Fortunately, modern technologies detect mild hearing loss even remotely. The online hearing test allows you to detect and report the impairment, and it’s completely free! Welcome to Audiology Island if you want to test your or your relative’s hearing!
You should be well aware of the main causes of mild hearing loss to minimize the likelihood of a problem. Among them:
Constant exposure to noise
Complications of ear or respiratory tract infections
Ear or head injuries
Despite the various causes of mild hearing loss, the best way to treat the problem is to see a doctor in time. The sooner help is provided, the higher the chance of hearing restoration!
Why shouldn’t you be silent about the problem?
Audiology Island has extensive experience in the field of hearing aids. We often face situations when a person, already aware of the problem, does not rush for help. Patients often have a false belief that nothing terrible will happen. Our leading specialist, Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro notes that this is a big mistake.
Even mild hearing loss leads to changes in brain function. The brain is always adapting to new life realities. The longer you live with mild impairment, the longer the brain will work under conditions of reduced auditory information, gradually forgetting how to hear correctly. During therapy, the brain will experience stress again. You will experience it the same way because you will have to “remember” how to perceive external sounds and speak correctly. At the same time, the rehabilitation period is very individual. For some, it takes several weeks, for others at least a year.
It is important to note that even with mild hearing loss, not to mention a more complex degree of the problem; a person’s cognitive capabilities are gradually reduced. Psychological problems develop along with physical ones. Doctors quite often diagnose symptoms of dementia, depression in people who suffer even from mild hearing loss.
Decreased auditory sensitivity directly limits access to auditory signals, which are necessary to perceive the environment. The brain receives less and less information, it needs to analyze and maintain the body in space.
Don’t be naive. The consequences of untimely treatment will be very unpleasant. The best way to avoid them in the future is to contact your hearing care professional today!
Do you have mild hearing loss? Use hearing aids!
Until recently, mild hearing loss was not treated. People considered it a minor problem. But times are changing. Today, the results of long-term clinical studies demonstrate that the use of hearing aids for mild hearing loss has a positive effect on human health. Daily use of these devices at the initial stage of hearing loss helps prevent further problems. The cognitive functions also stop deteriorating. Of course, a person also gets the opportunity to hear well even in conditions of interfering background noise.
We offer a wide range of hearing aids in different types, styles, and designs. Our hearing care professional will select a device for you based on your individual needs and hearing tests.
Keeping ears healthy is an important task for every person. It is important not to forget about preventive measures, the best of which is regular hearing tests, especially for those at risk. Audiology Island also recommends strengthening the body, treating upper respiratory tract diseases on time. Avoid noise exposure, and if this is not possible, use protective equipment (headphones, earplugs). If you notice the first signs of the impairment, consult an audiologist. Timely treatment will allow you to avoid many problems in the future!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]