Header Top

Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

Type and Degree of Hearing Loss

If you have been recently sent to a hearing specialist, such as an audiologist, you may have been instructed to undergo what is called an audiometric test or evaluation. This is a basic procedure that uses low and high frequency tones to estimate the severity of your hearing loss. The more intense your loss, the more intensive your treatment will be.

Hearing Loss Severity Levels

There are five basic levels of hearing ability, each measured through decibels. Your audiometric test will show where on the scale you fall. The categories are:

  • Normal Range: 0 – 25 dB hearing loss, which can be attributed to normal environmental exposure.
  • Mild Loss: 26 – 40 dB which can be attributed to minor damage or deterioration.
  • Moderate Loss: 41 – 70 dB, which can be attributed to repeated exposure to dangerous sound levels, or damage from medical or trauma conditions.
  • Severe Loss: 71 – 90 dB, which can be be attributed to very severe exposure or medical and trauma based damage.
  • Profound Loss: 91 dB+, which indicates extreme hearing loss, sometimes to the point of deafness.

The Different Types of Hearing Loss

Each of the three chambers of the ear have an important job to do. The outer ear conducts all sound coming in through the outer environment. It is then changed and interpreted within the middle ear before being sent off to the inner ear. There the sound is received, and with the delicate bones causing vibrations it is possible for the brain to understand those sound signals.

When one of these chambers isn’t working at their optimal levels you will experience hearing loss, as well as ‘plugged’ hearing like being underwater, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or even balance problems (vertigo). But not all hearing loss is caused by the same thing, even if many of the effects can be similar.

The most frequently seen form of hearing loss is called sensorineural. Usually this is caused by sound exposure at unsafe decibels, a shift in fluid levels within the inner ear, damage to the nerves within the ears, or just plain aging. As you can imagine, this is the most common condition that those with hearing loss suffer from.

Another form of hearing loss is conductive loss. When sound can’t travel properly from one chamber to the other, it can result in a plugged up sensation that makes it hard to make out speech. Instead it sounds like a drone or whine to the sufferer. They also may find their own voice or chewing sounds so deafening that they have trouble hearing anything else.

Finally, you have central hearing loss. This is the least common of the three, but by no means rare. It is a problem not with the ears, but with the brain itself. Traumatic injuries to the head can cause brain damage, making it hard for the sufferer to understand speech, or sometimes hear noises.

All three of these conditions are treatable, and at all levels. Find out more at HearingDoctors.net.