Are Hearing Aids Useful for Slight Loss of Hearing?
There are different levels and types of hearing loss. A hearing test from your audiologist can help you learn which, specifically, is affecting you. In terms of treating the hearing loss and helping restore your range of hearing to a more livable level, hearing aids are the most widely used and highest recommend option available.
However, if you have what is referred to as slight or mild hearing loss, you might wonder if you really need a hearing aid after all. Here, we’re going to explore that question to see if they can still help you.
About slight or mild hearing loss
Audiologists define mild hearing loss as hearing ranges that cannot pick up sounds between 26-40 decibels on certain pitches or frequencies. It can mean that sounds within this range are not loud enough or clear enough to be heard or understood fully by the individual. If you have slight hearing loss you may be able to hear speech at that pitch and volume, but you might have trouble clearly understanding it.
As such, those with mild hearing loss may feel like their hearing is not too badly compromised but may still have trouble hearing the most difficult sounds of speech, including consonants like k, f or p. Other factors like poor room acoustics or levels of background noise might make understanding and hearing certain levels of speech or noise even more challenging.
The impact of slight hearing loss
Regardless of the type and level of hearing loss that you might have, hearing aids do offer some benefits worth considering. It can be hard to tell, sometimes, as there may be days where you encounter no difficulty with your range of hearing at all. However, depending on your lifestyle, occupation and how often you communicate with others, those perceived difficulties that hearing loss can help with can become more noticeable.
As described above, certain sounds may be much harder to hear with mild hearing loss, especially in speech. Depth, deaf and death can all sound very similar, especially depending on the pitch or frequency that you’re hearing. As such, trouble with communication can affect your social interactions, relationships with friends and family, and even your career. Since slight hearing loss is often not taken as seriously as other levels, lapses in communication can wrongfully be misjudged as inattention.
Furthermore, those with slight hearing loss can find themselves putting more effort in attempting to listen, carefully, which can lead to stress and fatigue. As such, there is a real risk of isolation that comes with slight hearing loss, as people may seek simply to avoid social interaction more often than to try and strain themselves.
Should I use a hearing aid if I have slight hearing loss?
Hearing aids are always suitable for those with hearing loss, no matter the type of level. For most people with slight hearing loss, it’s only a matter of recognizing the challenges that their hearing loss presents for them. Hearing aids act not only to amplify sounds that are too quiet for you to be able to hear, but can help make speech clearer, can prevent fatigue from straining yourself to listen, and can make sure that further hearing loss is stopped in its tracks.
Hearing loss can progress and worsen gradually, especially as we age. Furthermore, there are concerns that untreated hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline as the auditory pathways of the brain are not stimulated as much as they need to be.
In truth, people with slight hearing loss often choose not to use hearing aids, and some may not even recognize for some time that they have any kind of hearing loss. However, to improve communication, reduce strain, combat worsening hearing loss and to offer a better quality of life and relationships, you should consider hearing aids if you’re experiencing any issues – even if they’re mild.
Do you need hearing aids?
If you have slight or mild hearing loss, you may still be on the fence about whether a hearing aid is right for you. Regardless, having a better understanding of your hearing and ear health with the help of an audiologist is always recommended.
If you have any questions about hearing aids, or the other help we can provide, such as teaching communication strategies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sonus at 703-823-3336. We’re glad to do what we can to help you on your hearing health journey, whatever your decision is.