When people hear the term “mild hearing loss”, they may interpret it to be no big deal, and something that is easily overcome simply by turning up the volume on the TV. But the truth is, individuals with mild hearing loss often have difficulty understanding speech and engaging in conversations, especially when there are other competing sounds around.
What is Mild Hearing Loss?
Mild hearing loss is usually defined as being unable to hear sounds softer than 40 decibels. To put this in context, a whisper is about 30 decibels, and rustling leaves are about 20 decibels. This might not sound like a problem, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Someone with mild hearing loss may not have trouble following a one-on-one conversation in a quiet room, but noisier environments, group settings, or talking on the phone can lead to difficulty communicating.
Hear But Not Understand
Mild hearing loss doesn’t only mean sounds aren’t loud enough. It could manifest in a way that allows an individual to hear conversations, but not understand what’s being said.
Consonant sounds like “p” and “t”, or “th” and “f” will sound similar, so words like “map” and “mat” or “death” and “deaf” will be unclear. This diminished hearing becomes worse in a loud room with lots of background noise, or when listening to a high-pitched or soft-spoken voice.
Constantly readjusting how one listens in different contexts means that people with mild hearing loss have to concentrate more to follow conversations in certain situations.
Hearing Aids For Mild Hearing Loss
The ongoing strain of struggling to hear the conversations around them can be both tiring and demoralizing, especially for individuals who live active social and professional lives. This is why hearing aids can be pivotal for people with mild hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids when hearing loss is still mild can help decrease “listening fatigue,” leading to an easier and more active social life in the short run, while helping to maintain hearing into the future.
Without hearing aids, one’s hearing deteriorates further as the brain can “forget” how to hear sounds properly, and speech comprehension continues to diminish.
Smaller, Discreet Hearing Aids for Mild Hearing Loss
Advances in hearing aid technology mean today’s devices are smaller, sleeker and easier to use than ever before. Someone with mild hearing loss has more choices of hearing aids available to them than someone whose hearing loss has deteriorated significantly.
If your hearing loss is mild, you may be able to wear smaller – even “invisible” – hearing aids, because your devices don’t need to put out as much sound, requiring less power. Battery changes will also be less frequent compared to someone with severe hearing loss.
Get A Baseline Measure Of Your Hearing
Even if you feel like missing a bit of the conversation isn’t a nuisance right now, it’s important to monitor the progression of your mild hearing loss. See an experienced Doctor of Audiology to get a hearing test to establish your current hearing ability, so you can track any declines in the future.
Start the conversation now to determine if and when hearing aids will be right for you. Don’t let diminishing hearing diminish your life. Our Doctors of Audiology are here to help.