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Hearing loss is broken down into four main categories according to the degree or severity of the loss. It is measured on a scale of decibels of hearing loss and against a ‘normal’ hearing person. To establish the degree of hearing loss a hearing test is carried out to establish how loud a sound needs to be played for the person to hear it. The test plays sounds at different frequencies – high pitch, low pitch etc. to establish the degree of hearing loss at different frequencies. The number of decibels required above the normal level to hear that sound then defines the severity of the loss according to the categories below (these reflect the dBHL loss for the majority of frequencies in any one test):
Mild loss may result in perceiving speech as soft or muffled, Which will have a detrimental effect when trying to hear in noisy environments. Soft consonants are particularly difficult to hear, which is a frustration as the sound may be heard but remain unintelligible for the listener.
There is currently no medically based cure for age-related loss, so those with Mild Hearing Loss have a choice of continuing to suffer an ever more isolating hearing loss or investigate the use of amplification; through for example the use of a hearing aid. Click here to see our section on hearing aid choices.