Understanding Hearing Loss

As one of our five senses, hearing is integral to communication, but many people who suffer from hearing loss are either unaware or too embarrassed to address their condition. While you cannot reverse most hearing losses you can improve the quality of your hearing by working with an audiologist and taking advantage of the technology that’s available.

Typically those who suffer from hearing loss will initially struggle to hear or understand the higher-pitched voices of women and children. Sufferers may still hear voices but it will be difficult to understand.

There are five levels or degrees of hearing loss. A person with normal hearing can perceive very soft sounds, whereas a person with a profound loss can only distinguish sounds louder than 90 dB (decibels). To put it into perspective, a blender typically operates at 85 dB.

Communication Tips

If your loved one suffers from hearing loss you can take the steps below to improve your communication with them:

  • Gain the person’s attention before speaking
  • Position yourself within 3-6 feet and remain at eye level to allow for visual clues
  • Use facial expressions and gestures to give clues to the meaning of your message
  • Speak slowly and distinctly using short, simple sentences
  • Raise your voice but do not shout because loud speech may sound distorted, speaking directly into a person’s ear can also distort your message