Although many people know that what level of hearing loss requires hearing Aids, but, what they don’t know about is how much hearing loss is needed until they need to wear hearing aids. For example, many people think one would not need to wear hearing aids until the hearing loss is severe; but, is this idea correct?
The answer is no. We need to understand that hearing aids rely on our residual hearing to send sounds up to our brains. Sounds from the environment first get processed and amplified by the hearing aids, and then get sent into our ears, and then the processed sounds rely on our residual hearing to get sent up to the brain.
If you can't hear at all, you likely have no or minimal residual hearing left, and at this point it is almost impossible to get your hearing back, so when you feel that you are starting to experience hearing loss, you need to have a hearing test done and seek for treatments, such as obtaining hearing aids as soon as possible, if you are a candidate for them.
How much hearing loss is considered disabled
Normal hearing: less than 25dB
Mild hearing loss: 26-40 dB, people with mild or slight hearing loss, which generally does not affect their daily conversations. Whether or not to use hearing aids depends on the needs of the individual's work and lifestyle.
Moderate hearing loss: 41-60 dB, it will be difficult to hear speech if the speaker is at a distance, in background noise environments, and in group situations. One might unconsciously turn up the TV volume and interrupt conversations. So such an individual is a candidate for wearing hearing aids, and with the help of the hearing aids it can enhance hearing and protect residual hearing.
Severe hearing loss: 61-80 dB, one who has a severe degree of hearing loss can hear loud sounds or conversations at a close distance, and they can even distinguish ambient noise and vowel sounds; however, they cannot distinguish consonants. Hearing aids can improve listening and communication experiences.
Profound hearing loss: greater than 80 dB, one can no longer communicate with others only by natural hearing, and they rely on lip-readings and body language. Hearing aids can help with communication and provide safety precautions for people who're suffering from profound hearing loss.
By theory, anyone with any level of hearing loss can become a hearing aids user. Generally speaking, people with hearing loss at 40 dB or more than 40 dB need to wear hearing aids, and the sooner the hearing aids are selected and put into use, the better.
How do I know I need hearing aids?
First, if the hearing test results showed your hearing is impaired to the extent that hearing aids are required, then consider wearing hearing aids as soon as possible.
Second, hearing is a higher level, comprehensive, subjective perception, so the sensation of "in need" is a sign; such as “I often need others to repeat themselves to me”. Once you start to experience hearing difficulties throughout your daily life, it also is a sign that you most likely need hearing aids.
The general rule of thumb, when you get diagnosed with hearing loss, the sooner you wear hearing aids, the better!
However, sudden hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that is not suitable for hearing aids. Sudden hearing loss is extremely unstable. What patients need to do after they notice a sudden hearing loss is to follow up with a medical doctor as soon as possible, rather than jump to hearing aids as the conclusion right the way. Wear hearing aids after you obtain a medical clearance from a medical doctor, such as an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor, or an ENT.