What is Profound Hearing Loss?

Last update on Jul, 22, 2022

Hearing loss is different for everyone, and what you can or can’t hear depends on your degree of hearing loss. The symptoms of hearing loss can range from occasionally finding it hard to hear others in noisy settings to not being able to hear most sounds. If you have the lowest degree of hearing loss, or profound hearing loss, even the loudest sounds like airplane engines or alarms may be difficult to hear.

 

close-up of hand behind ear

What is profound hearing loss, and how do you know if you have it? Read on to learn more about the symptoms of hearing loss and how to know if you have it.

What are the degrees of hearing loss?

Degrees of hearing loss refer to how loud sounds must be for you to hear them. The loudness of a sound is measured by decibels, or dB. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or ASHA, the degrees of hearing loss are normal, slight, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound. Normal hearing is classified as the ability to hear anything between -10 to 15 dB. The hearing loss range, or dB HL, is 16 to 25 for slight hearing loss, 26 to 40 for mild hearing loss, 41 to 55 for moderate hearing loss, 56 to 70 for moderately severe hearing loss, and 71 to 90 for severe hearing loss. The inability to hear anything higher than 91 dB is profound hearing loss.

Sounds that are louder than 91 dB include lawnmowers, fireworks, sirens, and loud rock concerts or nightclubs. If you are having trouble hearing any of these sounds, you may have profound hearing loss. 

What causes profound hearing loss?

Profound hearing loss can happen over time with age. As you get older, your ears become more damaged and stop responding to sound waves as well as they used to. Exposure to loud noises such as airplane engines or loud music can also be a cause of profound hearing loss. Hearing loss caused by loud noises depends on how loud the sounds are and how often you are around them. Other causes of profound hearing loss can include ear infections, genetics, and medications.

Treating and preventing profound hearing loss

The first step to treating hearing loss is to find out how far it has progressed. You can schedule a free hearing appointment with a Miracle-Ear specialist to get an accurate assessment of what degree your hearing loss is at. Your specialist can determine if you have profound hearing loss and recommend a hearing aid that is best suited for you. Hearing aids for profound hearing loss work by picking up sounds and amplifying them to help you hear. Another treatment solution for profound hearing loss is a cochlear implant, which works to stimulate the auditory nerve. Although cochlear implants are safe, surgery is required to insert them.

While some causes of profound hearing loss are not avoidable, you can prevent hearing loss by protecting your ears. Try to avoid environments with loud noises or make a point to wear headphones or earplugs in environments in these settings.

 

Audiologist performing hearing test

It’s important to catch the signs of hearing loss at an early stage so you can treat it faster. Visit your local Miracle-Ear store to get hearing help or take the free online Miracle-Ear hearing test from your device. 

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