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Understanding the 4 levels of deafness

  • 4 levels of deafness

Hearing loss is a much more common problem than you think and it affects millions of people all over the world. The reason that it’s ignored in a lot of cases is because it takes time to notice at first and it gradually gets worse with age. You may not even realise that you’re suffering from it until it is too late and it starts becoming evident.

It is important to know the levels of deafness to understand its severity and seek treatment as early as possible. 

Causes of deafness

Some common causes of deafness are injuries, genetic defects, ageing and even certain diseases.

Few of the diseases that can cause deafness are

Sickle cell disease
Lyme disease
Arthritis
Hypothyroidism
Diabetes
Mumps
Syphilis
Chicken pox
Certain types of cancer

Levels of deafness

There are four common levels of deafness as classified by audiologists

  1. Mild hearing loss
  2. Moderate hearing loss
  3. Severe hearing loss
  4. Profound hearing loss

Mild hearing loss

As it is the initial level, it is the most difficult to notice. People with mild hearing loss cannot hear sounds quieter than 25-45 dB. This means that the sounds like ticking of the clock, dripping of the water or rustling of the leaves may go unheard. People with mild hearing loss also experience difficulty understanding words when someone is whispering or even talking normally in a noisy environment. Since the hearing loss here is mild, it can be easily rectified using a hearing aid that can amplify the low sounds.

Moderate hearing loss

 At this level, the quietest sounds that can be heard are of 40-75 dB. Anything quieter than that will not get registered. You will start seeing a major impact of hearing loss in your day-to-day life at this level as sounds like ringing of phone or doorbell start going unheard. It can also get difficult to follow up during a normal one-to-one conversation even in a quiet environment. Luckily, even at this level, the condition can be rectified using a hearing aid.

Severe hearing loss

People suffering from severe hearing loss cannot hear anything below 75-90 dB range. This means you can find it difficult to hear pretty much everything in daily life like the TV, ringing of the phone and other everyday sounds. Following up a conversation with anyone without a hearing aid is almost impossible at this level. There are powerful hearing aids that can be helpful at this level but are still not very efficient. This type of hearing loss can be rectified by undergoing middle ear implants or cochlear implants surgery.

Profound hearing loss

Profound hearing loss is the most significant level of hearing loss. At this level, sounds below 90-120 dB cannot be heard. This means that it is hard to hear even loud sounds like fire alarms and you basically lose all of your hearing sense. People with profound hearing loss cannot hear anything and have to adapt techniques like hand gestures, lip reading or visual cues as even hearing aids are ineffective at this level. The solution at this level is getting cochlear implants that can help you hear with rehabilitation after the surgery.

What You Need To Know About Central Auditory Processing Disorders

  • hearing-clinic-perth-CAPD

Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) is supposed to be a type of physical hearing impairment but it does not demonstrate any hearing loss during routine screenings and on an audiogram. It actually impacts the hearing system way beyond your ear. This adversely affects the job of differentiating a meaningful or decipherable message from unnecessary background noise and delivering that information with proper clarity to the brain’s intellectual centres or our Central Nervous System. When you get incomplete or even distorted auditory messages, you tend to lose a key connection with other people and the world in general.

Specialized Testing for Identifying CAPD

Specialized testing would be necessary for identifying the CAPD issue. Some tests used by educational psychologists, educational therapists, andneuropsychologists could help in indicating that Central Auditory Processing Disorders could be present. These would be including auditory memory tests, tonal pattern recognition, sequencing, or even sound blending and information storage, in general, that is mostly assimilated through listening. The most precise way of sorting CAPD from any other issues is by opting for the clinical audio logic tests relating to your Central Nervous System. These tests prove to be effective in locating the problem site, managing and effectively reducing the effects.

Some CAPD Signs You Must Not Ignore

When you see the following signs in your child, it is best to take him/her to the hearing clinic and consult with a qualified audiologist.

•           Incredibly sensitive to sounds.

 •          Likes to listen to T. V. or even talk louder than usual.

•           Speech delays or speech developed unclearly.

•           Issues with rapid speech.

•           Not good at “communication.”

•           Often requires remarks repeated.

•           Memorizes poorly.

•           Interprets every word too literally.

•           Hears better while facing or watching the speaker.

•           Difficulty in sounding out words.

•           Difficulty in following a series of directions.

•           Often confused with similar-sounding words.

•           Asks excessive extra informational questions.

•           Ignores people around him or her, particularly when engrossed.

Characteristics of Central Auditory Processing Disorders

Poor Listening Abilities

A child suffering from CAPDs may demonstrate difficulties in paying attention and this is actually, referred to as the auditory memory deficit. The child may make requests for repetition frequently. He would be having issues with memorizing or remembering verbal information. He would possess poor communication skills like he could be abrupt while speaking or be explicitly terse while talking to someone.

Problems in Following a Series of Directions

A child suffering from CAPDs may have major issues in following multi-step or a series of instructions, particularly, if they are verbal directives. For children afflicted with Central Auditory Processing Disorders, every step must be clearly understood before going on to the following step.

Poor Organizational Abilities

Poor organizational and planning skills are some of the key characteristics of Central Auditory Processing Disorders. Any patient with CAPD may not have the necessary attention span for planning and following through any long-term assignment. He would be hugely benefitted in a perfectly structured environment. In this context, you must appreciate that the cutting-edge assistive learning technologies could be immensely helpful.

Difficulty in Reading & Comprehension

Children with CAPD actually, prefer written instructions; demonstrate poor spelling and reading skills. As such, they are characterized by poor note-taking abilities.

Distracted Easily by Sounds

A person having Central Auditory Processing Disorders would be incredibly sensitive to sounds and would be having a lot of problems in hearing, as well as, comprehending in a really loud environment. He or she would be distracted quite easily by noise and demonstrate tremendous trouble in paying attention or concentrating if there is some background noise.

Conclusion

CAPD would adversely affect the academic, communication, and social skills of a child. Children with Central Auditory Processing Disorders would not usually be speaking clearly. They would have problems in developing spelling, reading, and writing abilities. Children with CAPDs generally have problems in telling jokes and stories and they would be consciously avoiding conversations with peers as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to understand what is being discussed and to come up with some appropriate response. Do not forget that CAPD could present lifelong issues if it is not diagnosed correctly and effectively managed. So get in touch with your audiologist at once. If you still have doubt, contact our audiologist in Southern River Family Practice and make a appointment today.

What You Need To Know About Hearing Loss And Memory Problems?

  • hearing-clinic-perth-hearing loss

Hearing loss is a common phenomenon and it could affect individuals across all age groups. The main causes for hearing impairment could be hereditary factors, trauma, ear disease, noise exposure, and most importantly, age. Hearing loss is known to trigger cognitive decline and memory loss in older adults. Audiologists have been seeing a boost in demand for their services by aged clients whose communication issues are triggered by hearing impairment and cognitive decline. For all these aged people, early detection or diagnosis of cognitive decline is crucial as it is mandatory to provide prompt medical intervention and also assure social support.

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

According to researchers and experts in the field of audiology, hearing loss is certainly a factor in deteriorating mental acuity in aged individuals. Persons with severe hearing loss would be having greater chances of developing some sort of a cognitive disorder and a definite boost in mental function decline while individuals with even mild hearing would be experiencing cognitive issues such as dementia, memory changes, and even increased falls.

The exact connection between hearing impairment and cognitive decline is yet not completely understood. It could possibly be because of a surge in cognitive load. The brain is overwhelmed because of increasing demands on its already limited resources. Hearing impairment could result in increased social isolation to which aged adults seem to be already prone to. Social isolation is certainly a risk factor for dementia and cognitive impairment according to audiologists.

Diminished hearing abilities could result in reduced brain stimulation, which again is a great risk factor for declining thinking abilities. It could also be plausible that by compelling the brain to work overtime for effectively processing the signals coming from the ears, it is obvious that the hearing impairment would be taking away all the energy and vitality from the brain’s thinking parts.

Ways Hearing Loss Could Cause Memory Problems & Dementia

Physiological Pathway: Perhaps the most obvious cause is a physiological pathway that plays a role in cognitive decline, as well as, hearing loss, like blood pressure.

Cognitive Overload: The most common cause of memory loss issues is the cognitive overload which is actually, the constant endeavour you are putting in, for understanding what you are apparently hearing. You are constantly straining and this could prove to be stressful to your brain. Moreover, an older adult has been drawing away resources from brain functions like working memory would eventually bring down the resilience of the brain.

Changes in Brain Structure: Experts believe that hearing impairment could affect the brain structure in such a manner that cognitive issues or memory problems would arise. Images of the brain demonstrate that aged individuals with hearing impairment have relatively less grey matter in that portion of the brain that is known to receive and process sounds coming in through the ears. This does not imply that they are losing brain cells.

You could say certain brain cell structures are shrinking due to lack of stimulation. Many experts believe that when the brain is again able to receive clearer speech signals with the use of cutting-edge hearing aids, these brain structures could be recovering and going back to their previous function and size. This may lead to the restoration of hearing.

Social Isolation: Social isolation seems to play a pivotal role in cognitive decline or memory problems. When you are having hearing issues, you tend to avoid friends and social gatherings as it becomes difficult to carry on a conversation. When you become socially isolated there would be a definite increase in the risk of cognitive decline leading to dementia.

Conclusion

It would possibly take a lot more research for accurately determining what factors lead to memory issues triggered by hearing loss. The important thing is to understand that an advanced hearing loss treatment including state-of-the-art hearing aids could be successful in delaying or preventing cognitive decline and even dementia.

Our audiology clinic in Southern River Family Practice offers varies hearing solutions for all your hearing problems. Feel free to make appointment today with our audiologist to understand further on preventing hearing loss.

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