When you hear the words “mild hearing loss,” you may think of a harmless condition. But the truth is, even a mild loss of hearing can greatly impact your daily life, including your relationships and your health. Below we review what you need to know about mild hearing loss.
What Does “Mild Hearing Loss” Refer to?
Hearing loss is categorized as mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound. Someone with normal hearing can hear sounds as low as 0 decibels (dB).
Mild hearing loss is defined as inability to hear sounds under 25 dB. Sounds under 25 dB include whispering, water dripping, leaves rustling and birds chirping. Mild hearing loss can affect high frequencies or low frequencies, though it is usually the high-pitch sounds that are the first to go.
How Does Mild Hearing Loss Affect Your Life?
Most people with mild hearing loss can have a one-on-one conversation easily enough unless background noise is present. In settings like Moonstones, it can be challenging to understand what someone is saying over the sound of other conversations. Many people with mild hearing loss report they can hear, but not understand.
Hearing loss, even mild loss, can cause social isolation, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, falls and even cognitive decline. In fact, a study by Johns Hopkins found that people with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those with normal hearing.
What Causes Mild Hearing Loss?
There are many possible causes of mild hearing loss.
- Impacted earwax. Sometimes the cure for mild hearing loss is simply to clean your ears. If earwax is impacted, you’ll need to visit an audiologist or ENT physician to have it removed; never try to use a Q-tip to remove earwax, as it will likely only push it down further.
- Ear infection. Children are at the highest risk of developing ear infections, though anyone of any age can develop one. Some infections clear up on their own, though more severe ones require antibiotics.
- Noise exposure. Within the inner ears are tiny hair cells called stereocilia, which convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy these cells, causing temporary or permanent noise-induced hearing loss.
- Aging. Sometimes it is simply the case that mild hearing loss develops due to the natural aging process.
For more information about mild hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Chelmsford Hearing Group today.