Hi! Great to actually have inspiration for a post again, be it long or short.
So, I was surfing the internet for hearing loss information (again) and found a pin on Pinterest, leading to an article about “tips for explaining mild hearing loss to friends and family.” The article was written by the mother of a little girl with mild hearing loss, whose family members were asking her what, exactly, having a mild hearing loss actually means. The mother began trying to figure out how to explain the hearing loss in a way that she and her family could understand. She took a look at what all the websites and handouts had to say about mild hearing loss, and began experimenting.
Mild hearing loss is commonly explained with these main points: it’s between 25 and 40 decibels, high frequency hearing loss means the person cannot hear sounds like “s, f, th”, and someone with mild HL cannot hear whispers because whispers are around 30 decibels. However, as this mother found out, that does not necessarily describe it accurately. The little girl does have mild high frequency hearing loss, yet the various experiments the woman conducted based on the parameters used to explain it showed the girl could still hear whispers and speech sounds. She was, of course, confused… just as I have been in the past.
For those of you who may not have read my posts about this subject, here’s a brief summary. I have had a 40 decibel hearing loss in the low frequencies (means I can’t hear low sounds as well) in both ears, along with mild to moderate high frequency loss in my left ear, since I was very little– I may have even been born with it. Most people who have hearing loss have mainly high frequency hearing loss, and they have trouble hearing and understanding a lot of consonant sounds. However, because my hearing loss is mainly low frequency, I don’t have as much of a problem as someone would have if they had the same degree of hearing loss in the high frequencies. (If you don’t understand what I mean by decibels and frequencies, I explain what they are in my other hearing loss posts. I would rather not take up a bunch of reading space explaining that here.)
When I was little, I really didn’t care about my hearing. Sure, I had hearing problems, but my family didn’t really discuss it much. It was just there. I think this was good for me, because it means my focus growing up was not on my hearing loss and “boohoo woe is me I can’t hear as well as other kids.” However, within the last couple years, I’ve become a lot more interested in the topic. During my internet research, I came upon the descriptions of mild hearing loss mentioned above:
- Hearing levels in the lower frequencies between 25 and 40 decibels, check.
- Left ear hearing levels in the high frequencies between 25 and 40 decibels for the most part, check.
- Trouble hearing in background noise, even if it’s only a small amount, check.
However, I kept getting confused, because I pronounce all my “speech sounds” and words just fine, I can hear whispers in my ear, I can talk on the phone (though I’ve noticed I tend to turn the volume up), and there are sounds that I shouldn’t be able to hear according to the “volume of different sounds” chart, yet I can hear them just fine. This is why I find myself so intrigued by this article– because the conundrum this mother is describing is the exact same one I found myself in when I first began to research. I am not the only one who has experienced confusion about what it really means to have mild hearing loss.
I am glad I’m not the only one. It relieves me to know that there are others who have the same questions about what they, or their families, can and can’t hear. It means that my questions are not crazy, my experience is shared, and there is a possibility for answers sometime in the future. 🙂
If you’ve just discovered that you have a hearing loss (or vision loss, or any other medical problem), know that your questions have quite probably been asked before, and there are others just like you searching for the same answers. You are not alone in your journey.
Here is a link to the article I mentioned in this blog post:
Have an awesome day! God bless!