Degrees of Hearing Loss: Types, Detection and Protection

Have you ever wondered why your neighbors make so much noise? That is what I do during the late hours of no sleep time that have been influenced by my noisy neighboring couple.

There are so many possible reasons why they are so loud, like they do not care about others, or they are doing it in spite of me. Then it hit me, it isn't personal, it is because of their hearing deficiency.

They are both at a certain age, so their communication has been based on making additional noise during speaking, working, playing music etc.

Through the sense of hearing, we refer toward external environment, learning speech, and communicating. The hearing deficiency represents an issue that effects on both personal and interpersonal level.

degrees of hearing loss

Early detection 

This issue can be a process that is gradually worsening or can be developed suddenly. For preventing of this illness the most valuable thing is early detection. So, if you do not want to become a sloppy noisy neighbor, you should take control of your sense of hearing.

Measurement of hearing 

Measurement of the human hearing level is carried out through a range of frequencies and the hearing verge at each frequency. Unfortunately, there is not yet a standard system of measurement that has been universally used, but for this case, we will use a system that has been recognized by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

For normal hearing has been taken a reference of 0 decibels.  Please note that normal conversational speech is around 60 dB. If you hear less, you cannot be an equal participant of conversation.

Making an audiogram

If I want to determine my sense of hearing, I will take an audiogram. The first part of audiogram represents a system of different range of frequencies that have been released through headphones or earphones, in each ear individually.

Frequencies that have been released going through the range from 125 to 8000 Hertz. It is our duty to detect the softest sound we can hear per each ear.  The lower verge we can hear, the better our hearing is. This part of the test has been known as air conduction test.

The other part of conducting an audiogram consists of using small vibrating metal peace that leans at our skull. This part has been known as bone conduction test.

This method conducts the sound directly into the inner ear and it has been used to deduct the percentage of hearing into the inner ear. Both these tests cannot be conducted domiciliary, but only with the assistance of a technician – an audiologist.

By the assistance of an audiologist, you can make your personal overall threshold hearing level, that’s been classified by the degree of hearing loss, from slight to severe.

age-related-hearing-loss

The Degrees of Hearing Loss

Degrees of Hearing Loss

Verge Hearing Level (dB HL)

Difficulties in Communication

Use of Hearing Aids/ recommendation

Normal

10-15

normally

Not needed

Slight

16-25

speaking and understanding is not affected

Not needed

Mild

26-40

speaking and understanding decreased, especially in noisy surroundings

Can be helpful; see

Moderate

41-55

communication with difficulties

Very useful; strongly recommended

Moderately severe

56-70

speakers need to shout, if they want to be heard

Essential; see

Severe

71-90

speaking cannot be heard

Barely useful

Profound

91 or higher

deaf

Of little benefit; cochlear implants may be considered

Therefore, after you take an audiogram you will know how your hearing is, and according to that measurement, you will know what to do next.

Moreover, there are different types of hearing loss:

  • Sensorineural
  • Conductive
  • Mixed (that have both sensorineural and conductive components)

Types of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss 

This is a type of hearing loss happens when the problem lies in the inner ear or sensory organ, or vestibulocochlear nerve. This is the most common type of hearing loss. It is said that it covers about 90% of the reported issues with hearing.

Sensory hearing loss happens as a consequence of damaged or faulty cochlear hair cells. The reason for the imperfection of hair cells may be abnormality at birth or damage that happened during a life of a certain person.

Reasons for sensory hearing loss

Beside abomination of cells at birth, there are many external reasons of damage that can bring on hearing loss. Many of them could be prevented. Therefore, I wish that your neighbors read this article to prevent potential unrest in a neighborhood.

The external reasons of damage are noise trauma, infection, ototoxic drugs. The most common cause of sensory hearing loss is endured exposure to noise from surroundings. For example, if you are being surrounded by a noisy neighborhood. Thus I imagine that will be the main reason for my potential hearing deficiency.

static-noise-in-ears

Neural hearing loss happens because of damaging the cochlear nerve. This damage may lay at the beginning of the nerve impulse, or in the transmission of the nerve impulse. This can come with other symptoms such as ringing in the ears, or dizziness.

Conductive hearing loss 

This type happens when a problem conducting sound waves anywhere through the outer ear, eardrum, or middle ear exists. This type may happen together with sensorineural hearing loss (known as mixed hearing loss) or alone.

Circumstances that cause this issue: 

  • In external ear: too many earwax, or existence of the foreign body in the external auditory canal, infection or irritation of the outer ear, abnormal growth of bone within the ear canal, the tumor of the ear canal, narrow or blocked ear canal, narrowing of the external auditory canal that follows surgery or radiotherapy
  • In middle ear: fluid accumulation, ear infections, blocking the eustachian tube caused by allergies or tumors.
  • In inner ear: superior canal dehiscence (thinning or complete absence of part of the temporal bone that overlying the superior semicircular canal of vestibular system), widened vestibular aqueducts.

Representation

A person that has conductive hearing loss hears all sounds faint and muffled. This type of hearing loss is worse in low frequencies. It may cause difficulties such as delay of speech and language during childhood.

Protect yourselves!

The most common kind of sensorineural hearing loss is age-related. This is the type that my neighbors suffer from.

Additionally, it often follows noise-induced hearing loss, which I could get if the noise continues.

Age-related hearing loss occurs during the time and affects usually both ears. It affects one in three Americans aged 65-74. Sometimes, this type of illness is hard to notice. It results apparently by increasing noise in person's environment.

hearing-loss

On the other hand, approximately 15% of Americans in age 20-69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. This can be caused by exposure of one time loud noise such as an explosion, or repeatedly to sounds louder than 85 dB.

Events such as concerts, or games, or disco, where you need to yell to be heard put your hearing at risk. If you go to such kind of happenings, be prepared and protect your ears by using earplugs such as these.

Take care of your ears, since the process of noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible!

Risk at work

Many Americans have been surrounded by harmful noise at their workplaces, and therefore, must be exposed during at least 8 hours of the shift. Especially risky are jobs in agriculture, construction, mining, military, nightclub, or in traffic.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires of employers certain precautions to limit noise exposure. If you are provided with hearing protection at your working place, take it seriously. If not, check the regulations of OSHA online and see if your employer follows the rules. 

workplace-hearing

Final Word: On the Degrees of Hearing Loss

As I said, many of flaws in your hearing can be prevented. That's the importance of this article. I admit that didn't go to check my hearing yet, but it is the first thing I will do in the future.

When I see my neighbors, their yelling during normal conversation, and their loud television, I wish not to become like them. Therefore, I will do as much as I can to prevent hearing loss.

The importance of hearing lies in the high-quality environment that you can enrich, cooperate, and communicate. If your hearing is inadequate, you cannot participate equally and no one will take you seriously.