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Hearing Loss

Common signs of hearing Loss!

  • Frequently having to ask people to repeat themselves
  • Having trouble hearing in noisy or busy places
  • Misunderstanding conversation
  • Finding that people are mumbling
  • Increasing the volume on the television
  • Avoiding social situations

Between hearing well and hearing nothing, there is a wide range of hearing loss. Experts distinguish between mild, moderate, severe and profound hearing loss. Most cases of hearing loss are mild or moderate. Hearing loss is measured in units called dBHL, dB stands for Decibels and HL stands for the Hearing Level.

A hearing test finds out the softest sounds a person can hear (their threshold of hearing), across a range of sound pitches (frequencies), and an average of these gives the level of hearing loss. The greater the threshold in dBHL the greater the loss.

Between 0 and 20 dBHL falls within normal hearing.
Between 21 and 39dBHL is a mild loss where there is some difficulty following speech especially in noisy situations.
Between 40 and 69 dBHL is a moderate loss where speech is difficult to hear without hearing aids.
Between 70 and 94 dBHL is a severe loss where there is a reliance on lip reading without hearing aids.
Over 95dBHL is a profound loss where communication may be by lip reading or BSL (British sign language). However adults who become profoundly deaf in later life rarely use BSL and appropriate power hearing aids can be of benefit.

Causes of Hearing Loss

The majority of hearing loss is damage to the inner ear and termed 'sensorineural' hearing loss. Most common causes are the aging process and/or long term exposure to loud noise. Other causes might be; drugs side effects (ototoxic), viral infections, hypertension and diabetes, to name but a few. Sensorineural loss is normally irreversible.

Other causes may not be permanent and might be treatable. These are termed 'conductive losses'. Examples of conductive loss are; excessive wax, infection of the middle ear, ear drum perforation, and malfunction of the middle ear bones. There can of course be a combination of both sensorineural and conductive loss and this would be termed a mixed loss.

Your hearing test will determine the type of hearing loss that you have.

If you are concerned about you hearing please book an appointment for a free hearing test and advice.