advertisement

Hearing management

20 November 2018

How bad is your hearing loss?

You've had a professional diagnose your hearing loss. So how bad is it?

0

People often assume that hearing loss only affects older people, but the reality is that it can affect anyone and at any age.

If you are finding it hard to follow conversations in noisy environments or have to constantly ask people to repeat themselves, or your family regularly complains that the TV is too loud, it might be time to book a hearing test. 

Degrees of hearing loss

After you've had a hearing test, which takes between 60 and 90 minutes, your audiologist might tell you that your degree of hearing loss is mild, moderate, severe or profound. But what exactly does that mean? The Better Hearing Institute gives a brief explanation of each degree:

Mild: It's the most common and under-diagnosed degree of hearing loss, the institute says. It means you probably have trouble hearing sounds that are less than 40 decibels, such as a whisper, rustling leaves or the sound of normal breathing. You may have trouble hearing others in noisy environments or higher-pitched sounds.

Moderate: In addition to the sounds described above, you may have trouble hearing sounds in the 40- to 60-decibel range, such as those typical of a quiet office. You probably have trouble keeping up with most conversations without the use of hearing aids.

Severe: You probably have trouble hearing sounds up to 80 decibels, such as those of a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer.

Profound: You probably can't hear sounds above 80 decibels, such as a lawn mower, food blender or motorcycle.

So how often do I need to have a hearing test?

Hearing loss often happens so gradually you might not even realise there is a problem. The Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals says you should go for regular hearing tests and recommends the following:

  • 18 to 45 years old: every five years
  • 45 to 60 years old: every three years
  • 60 years and older: every two years

Image credit: iStock 

 

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules