Explaining mild hearing loss

The term “mild hearing loss” may sound a little, well, mild! However, it’s quite the misnomer. Professionals classify hearing thresholds between 26-40 decibels as mild hearing loss [1]. Click here to see the different degrees of hearing loss.

But how can you tell if you have mild hearing loss, short of measuring your hearing loss precisely?

Those with mild hearing loss have a tendency to be able to hear speech when someone is speaking close by, directly to them and/or if the room is quiet. They hear easily when people are talking loudly, too. However, they probably feel that people are mumbling and/or that their ears are constantly plugged up. They also struggle when there are competing sound signals (for example speech and noise together). Also, quite a few people with mild hearing loss feel like they have too much wax in their ear(s) and that they would hear fine if the wax were to be removed.

Certain consonants are more difficult to understand

Various consonants (like: /f/k/s/sh/) are quite soft, and people with mild hearing loss can struggle to hear these sounds. It could lead them to believe that people are not speaking clearly or that they’re mumbling. However, this can actually be the hearing system struggling to hear those softer sounds that are causing the issues.

The good news is that mild hearing loss can be corrected with hearing aids. With hearing aids, people with mild hearing loss will be able to hear these soft sounds. The hearing aids will also help these individuals understand speech better when and if there are competing signals and other noises.

In the past, many people chose not to treat mild hearing loss because it wasn’t considered that important. However, recent times have changed this view. Research is currently underway to prove that treating mild hearing loss can prevent further atrophy of the whole hearing system. Other studies have shown that the use of hearing aids can slow cognitive decline in patients who are up in age [2].

If you think you may have hearing loss or are experiencing any symptoms, mild or otherwise, it is best to schedule a visit with a hearing professional to have it assessed.

Not sure how to find a local hearing professional? We can help. Call (888) 919-6824 or click here and we can help you schedule a consultation with a hearing healthcare provider near you.


By Starkey Canada