Degree Of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a very severe problem that affects the ears. The problem of hearing loss results from various reasons such as distress, ear infections, blockage of the ear canal, toxic drugs, etc. It results in partial or total inability to hear the sound in one or both ears. The most important types of hearing loss are sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Hearing loss may be of various degrees as well.

Conductive hearing loss happens when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones, of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss generally involves a reduction in sound level, or the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of a hear loss problem is not permanent and can be treated surgically.

Sensorineural hearing loss happens when there is damage to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear leading to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically treated. It is a permanent loss to the ears. Sensorineural hearing loss not only involves a reduction in the level of sound, or ability to hear faint sounds, but also affects speech understanding, or ability to hear clearly.

Many a time conductive hearing loss takes place in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be problem in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or auditory nerve. When this happens, the hearing loss is termed as a mixed hearing loss.

It is very imperative to conclude the degrees of hearing loss, in order to look for an apt treatment. The degree of hearing loss enlightens the severity of hearing inability. The degree of hearing loss can be grouped into 5 levels. These levels correspond to the lowest intensity at which sound is heard. Hearing threshold between the degree of 0 - 25 decibels (dB) is regarded as normal and there is no complexity in hearing normal speech.

Hearing threshold between the range of 26 - 40 dB symbolizes mild hearing loss. There may be some problem in hearing soft conversations and speech, but can be managed in silent surroundings. If hearing threshold is between the range of 41 - 55 dB, then it is regarded as a moderate degree of hearing loss. It causes difficulty in understanding the conversational speech, especially when there is a background noise. A person requires higher volume to listen to the radio or television.

Hearing threshold between the degree of 56 - 70 dB signifies moderate to severe hearing loss, due to which clarity of speech is extremely affected. A person requires loud speech and can face difficulty in group conversations or discussion. Hearing threshold between the degree of 71-90 dB is known as severe hearing loss. A person may find it hard to hear normal or even loud conversational speech. Except shouted or amplified speech nothing can be understood.

Finally if hearing threshold is above 91 dB, then the situation is known as profound hearing loss. A person is not capable to clearly understand even amplified speech.Depending upon the level of hearing loss, many treatment options are suggested such as hearing aids, speech therapy, speech reading training and counseling.