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Understanding hearing loss

Our ability to hear helps define who we are and how we communicate. When everything works as it should our sense of hearing has the power to inform, entertain and connect us with family and friends.

When our sense of hearing begins to let us down, even simple conversations can become tiring. Following a discussion within a group of people requires intense effort and communication can become difficult, all of which can quickly lead to isolation and frustration.

Hearing loss usually occurs gradually, so it is likely that you will not notice that your hearing has deteriorated.

You may notice some of the following signs:

  • When talking other people sound as though they are mumbling.
  • You struggle to hear on the telephone.
  • You have to turn the TV volume louder than others would like.
  • You can hear people talking but cannot understand what they are saying.
  • Find it hard to hear conversations in noisy environments ( background noise)
  • Family and friends notice your hearing loss and make mention of it.

How bad is your hearing loss?

As well as being identifiable by type of hearing loss, hearing losses are often described as Mild, Moderate, Severe and Profound. Whilst not entirely scientific, this simple approach can be helpful in allowing people to get a sense of their hearing problems.

Mild hearing loss

Mild hearing losses can be defined as being measurable with a hearing test but either not noticed at all or only occasionally or just in specific situations. The person can hear without a hearing aid in most situations.

Moderate hearing loss

This is by far the most common group. A moderate hearing loss is again measurable with a hearing test and is noticed in most or many situations. The person can still hear without a hearing aid if they concentrate and the speaker is relatively clear but the problem is noticed on a daily basis.

Severe hearing loss

Severe hearing losses are noticed in most if not all situations. The person can only hear without a hearing aid if they concentrate and the speaker significantly raises their voice and if there are no competing sound sources. Often the hearing impaired person can't hear everything even if the speaker is loud and very clear. This degree of hearing problem can be very debilitating.

Profound hearing loss

With profound hearing loss the sufferer cannot cope in any situation without a hearing system and will often find that even when wearing their aids they miss much of what is going on. These hearing difficulties often require Assistive Listening Devices or ALDs to be used, such as vibrating or flashing doorbells or type talk phone services which augment hearing in difficult situations.

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To find out more about the effects of hearing loss: download our free guide

Whatever degree of hearing loss you suffer from, it can have a serious effect on your confidence and quality of life. Your friends and family can become frustrated and conversations can often become shorter and more functional as communication becomes more of an effort.

For more information on the different hearing loss difficulties you may encounter, check out our free hearing advice guide to hearing loss solutions. If you're ready to take the next step, choose one of the options below to book a free hearing test with a professional audiologist or to find out more about getting a hearing aid with UK Hearing Care.

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