Learn How Much Mild Hearing Loss Can Impact Your Daily Life
Every day I test people of all ages who are experiencing difficulty understanding what is going on around them. There are many times I test these people and find out that they have a mild hearing loss. While in the audiology world, mild relates to a 21-40 dB hearing loss, there is nothing mild about it. A mild loss may make it difficult to hear the softer, higher frequency sounds in speech. English has a number of such sounds which are grammatically important, such as the /s/ used for plurals and possessives and the /ed/ of the past tense. These individuals may also:
- Miss portions of fast-paced conversations
- Be unaware of subtle conversation cues which can cause a person to respond inappropriately
- Be more fatigued due to the additions effort needed to hear and understand
- Start to isolate themselves from their peers due to miscommunication
- Have difficulty hearing faint or distance speech
Here are some little hearing experiments you can do to see how much a mild hearing loss can affect a person.
- Put a set of foam earplugs in your ears. These can be purchased from any hardware store or stop on by as we have some at our office. Have another adult stand across the room and in a quiet conversational voice say a series of words such as, “hit, hitting, hits, fit, fat, rat, hat, hats, dogs, dog’s, dog”. Did you hear all the different sounds or did the words mostly sound the same?
- Now try it again, only this time, have a television or radio playing in the background. How did that work?
- Now do it without looking at the person’s face.
- Next, add another adult across the room taking turns with the first speaker reciting a different series of words. What happens then? Chances are you could not tell exactly what words were being said with much accuracy.
Imagine your entire day being like this. How do you think you would feel? Do you think you might be exhausted by working so hard to hear what was going on? Do you think you may start to isolate yourself or give up and keep to yourself?
So what can you do if you feel you are having trouble hearing? Come on in and talk to an Audiologist. The first step is, learning about how hearing works, have an audiological assessment, and discuss what options are out there. There are many ways to help a person who comes in with mild hearing loss.