Do I Need Hearing Aids for Mild Hearing Loss? Hearing aids audiologists have their own opinions, so this issue has always been controversial; people with mild hearing loss in both ears have the same question: fit or not?
What does mild hearing loss sound like?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO-1997) classification of hearing impairment, which categorizes the degree of hearing loss, can be into the following:
Mild hearing loss, the average hearing is 26-40 dB HL, it is difficult to listen to slight sounds, such as soft speech, soft ambient sounds, etc., but there is almost no problem in usual one-on-one conversations with people in a quiet environment ;
People can feel that mild hearing loss has no impact on one's own life, so there is no need for hearing aids to assist in listening. Is it like this?
Do I need a hearing aid for mild hearing loss?
I also thought that mild hearing loss doesn't need to equip with hearing aids unless it has affected my work and life. Until he showed up, that changed my mind about this.
He was 75 years old with mild hearing loss in both ears and retired for many years. He had sensorineural deafness. The frequencies within 2000 Hz are in normal range, and the 2000 Hz begins to drop, but the loss is not that serious. The lowest point is 55 decibels. Looking at his mild hearing loss audiogram, I told him: that such a slight hearing loss will have little impact on your life, so you can go without hearing aids first. He insisted on hearing aids.
According to previous experience, hearing aids of this level have little effect on the patients like him, and they will be disappointed after the trial period, and then give up the matching; as the years go by, passively waiting for the hearing loss to gradually become serious. However, when he put on the hearing aid, his eyes lit up, and he said happily: This hearing aid is good and enjoyable, that allows me to hear the sound that I didn't hear clearly before wearing it!
He gushed about his story. He was from Hong Kong, once settled in the UK, and likes to travel. After hearing loss, he felt that the voice he heard was not as full, he couldn't hear his daughter when she spoke in a low voice. He always felt that something was missing, wanting his quality of life back. But equipped with a good hearing aid to assist listening, he found himself back again.
Mild hearing loss but don't need hearing aid?
People with mild hearing loss can hear most sounds, especially in a quiet environment.
However, when there is an increase in noise or speech, it becomes hard to hear people clearly. In a quiet environment, one can hear the sound when people speak in a low voice or a multi-person conversation, but can't clearly understand the speech content. In a noisy environment, the ambient sound is more likely to cover up the speech sound, and the audibility of conversations with people decreases significantly.
In order to hear the content in such cases, people have to move the body closer to the source of the sound, and it is also necessary to combine lip-reading and guessing, to be able to keep up with the content of the conversations of many people; listening begins to struggle. If things continues this way, the quality of life begins to decline, work, life, social interaction, hobbies, entertainment, and other aspects would have quietly changed.
Hearing aids for mild hearing loss
The most direct way for people with mild hearing loss (especially sensorineural hearing loss) to improve the quality of hearing is to wear a hearing aid.
In modern society, whether it is young people or the elderly, there are more and more entertainment programs in life: such as traveling, listening to concerts, watching movies, singing KTV, gathering with relatives and friends, etc. For young people, they need to experience a lot of learning and growth, job competition, social entertainment, etc.
After wearing suitable hearing aids for mild hearing loss, you can easily listen to the speech sounds in the complex environments, live a natural life, and feel psychologically safe. Long-term use can protect the residual hearing to a certain extent, maintain the relative stability of hearing, and improve the quality of life. Conversely, if people with mild hearing loss do not wear hearing aids or wear inappropriate hearing aids, their hearing gradually continues to decline as well as their quality of life.
As an audiology professional, I recommend wearing hearing aids as a treatment for mild hearing loss to maintain a quality of life, to protect residual hearing and hearing sensitivity.