Hearing Loss

What “Degree of Hearing Loss” Means

Only a Doctor of Audiology can accurately measure your personal degree of hearing loss so you can receive the right treatment.

Hearing Loss Can Affect Everyone in Different Ways

Just as you can have different amounts of vision loss, you can have different degrees of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound. In addition, your hearing is measured across a range of pitches from low to high. And your degree of hearing loss can vary across pitches. For example, you may have increased hearing loss in the high pitches with minimal loss, or normal hearing in the low pitches. In fact, this is the most common configuration of hearing loss and is why you often can hear but can’t always understand what people are saying, since you are missing high-pitched speech sounds.

The degree of hearing loss is based on the audiometric thresholds that are measured during a comprehensive hearing test. Hearing is tested for low, middle, and high pitches for both the right and left ears and is plotted on a graph called an audiogram. The degrees of hearing loss vary from mild to severe and profound.

Your Doctor of Audiology will discuss the degrees of hearing loss across pitches in more depth with you following your hearing evaluation. Here is an example of an audiogram and degree of hearing loss that can be used:

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Hearing Loss

Types of Hearing Loss Explained

Hearing loss can be categorized into three unique categories. These hearing loss types range from minor hearing loss to severe.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound passing through the outer and/or middle ear is disrupted. Some examples of these disruptions include excessive earwax in the ear canal, damage to the eardrum (by cotton swabs or other means), fluid buildup in the middle ear with or without infection, and disease of the middle ear bones, such as otosclerosis. Depending on the cause of the conductive hearing loss, other symptoms, such as ear pain, drainage from the ears, or a feeling of pressure or blockage in the ears, may occur. Approximately 10 percent of all hearing losses are conductive, which can range from mild to moderate in severity. Conductive hearing loss can often be medically treated, and, in many cases, hearing can be restored.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when a problem exists in the inner ear of the hearing system. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. Roughly 90 percent of hearing aid wearers have sensorineural hearing loss. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are noise exposure, genetics, and problems with the hearing nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, and currently, there is no cure. The best treatment option for this type of hearing loss is to be fit with hearing aids. For persons with complete, or profound, sensorineural hearing loss, cochlear implants may also be an option.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss can occur when both conductive and sensorineural hearing conditions are present. Only a Doctor of Audiology can accurately measure your personal degree of hearing loss so you can receive the right treatment.

If your hearing is impacted by any of these conditions above, it may be time to have your hearing evalulated using a verified appraoch. Using our proprietary H.E.A.R. Method™, Hearing Doctors of New Jersey ensures you never miss another word- guaranteed. Contact our offices today to learn more and schedule an appointment.

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