When it comes to hearing, there are many different degrees that rank along the severity spectrum of enduring a hearing - the most severe of the levels being profound hearing loss. When someone has this condition, they will experience difficulty hearing sounds that are otherwise regularly heard by others. If you suspect that you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms, read further as we outline the diagnosis and treatment available. Having a better understanding about profound hearing loss can help you get the right care to be able to continue to enjoy your regular activities.
What can you hear and what can you not hear?
With profound hearing loss, you cannot hear sounds that are lower than 91 decibels (dB). To give you an idea, a person with normal hearing measures between -10 to 25 dB of hearing loss. So, if you have profound hearing you will not be able to hear normal conversations, which has a sound level around 60 dB or even a motorcycle passing by, which averages at 80 dB. However, you may be able to hear a loud rock concert at 120 dB, or a gunshot at 130 dB. But it will depend completely on the severity of the hearing loss.
If you have profound hearing loss, you will most likely require behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids.
Diagnosing Profound Hearing Loss
To get a proper diagnosis you will need to visit an audiologist and perform a simple hearing test, or you can schedule an in-home hearing test. Your audiologist will do the following:
· Assess your case history
· Perform an examination of the ear (otoscopy)
· Check eardrum motility
· Measure hearing acuity
· Assess speech understanding
· Remove ear wax (if necessary)
The results will describe the type and degree of hearing loss you may have.
Treatment with Hearing Aids
Those that have been diagnosed with profound hearing loss have some options to help. Depending on your severity, hearing aids may be helpful in providing more sound and audibility. The benefits of a hearing aid are that there are a wide variety of devices to choose from to suit your needs. Plus, there have been many technological advancements that have made hearing aids more user-friendly. Now they can automatically adjust to a broad range of environments and connect wirelessly to all your favourite high-tech gadgets.
Treatment with Cochlear Implants
Those experiencing profound hearing loss can also elect to have a surgical procedure to insert cochlear implants into the cochlea. Unlike hearing aids which are exterior, cochlear implants work from the inner ear to provide sound signals to the brain. Many people report that they can reconnect with missed sounds, and can focus better in noise environments with after the procedure.
Hearing loss can be scary when you don’t understand what is happening or that there are potential treatment methods to improve your hearing. If you suspect hearing loss, talk to your audiologist who can discuss your options that can help you to hear better and to keep doing the things that are important to you.