How Hearing Loss Progression Affects Sound


Hearing loss is a common condition that affects roughly 10% of people in the U.S. By the age of 65, more than half of Americans will have some degree of hearing loss. Fortunately, there are many tools and resources available to help you manage your hearing loss and live a full life. Let’s take a look at how hearing loss progresses from mild to severe over time, as well as the different types of hearing loss that exist:

How the Inner Ear Works

The inner ear is a complex structure responsible for hearing and balance. It has three parts: the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular system. The cochlea is the part of the inner ear that detects sound waves, converting them into electrical signals sent to your brain through nerves.

The semicircular canals detect when you move in various directions; this information gets sent to your brain so it knows where you are in space at any given time.

The labyrinth organ—the vestibule—is responsible for balance and spatial orientation.

The Progression of Hearing Loss

The progression of hearing loss is different for everyone, and it can be affected by other factors, such as medications or stress. Some people may experience a slow decline in their hearing over time; others might experience sudden changes after an accident or injury. While most people will eventually require hearing aids to help them communicate effectively with others, there are some who do not feel the need for such devices even when they have lost all their remaining hearing capability.

Other conditions that affect your ability to hear include:

  • Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) – This type of progressive impairment is often seen in older adults; it occurs when the inner ear becomes damaged due to aging or illness. As a result of this condition, you may hear sounds less clearly than someone who does not have it; in some cases this causes difficulty understanding speech at normal levels around you if they have no background noise present at all times during conversation situations such as watching television shows together while eating dinner together etc., this could lead towards feelings of isolation since one person cannot understand what another person says without trying harder which leads back into feeling isolated again because nothing was solved by just talking louder!

What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss, also known as SNHL, is the most common type of hearing loss. It’s caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in your inner ear (called cilia), which send signals from your ears to the brain. Your auditory nerve carries those signals for you to hear.

Sensorineural hearing loss can be permanent or temporary and can affect you on both sides of your body at once or just one side—in any combination! The effects may be mild or severe depending on how much damage there is to the cilia. If a person has been diagnosed with SNHL, they have permanent damage that cannot be reversed by medicine or surgery—but there are ways to manage it so you can still hear well enough for everyday life activities without feeling isolated from others around them!

The following table describes some common symptoms associated with various levels of SNHL:

What Is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss is the result of a problem with your outer or middle ear. It can be caused by a blockage of your ear canal, an ear infection, or trauma to your outer ear. If you have conductive hearing loss and don’t treat it, it can cause permanent damage to your eardrum and bones in your ears.

The good news is that conductive hearing loss is often correctable with surgery.

What Is Mixed Hearing Loss?

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It can be caused by ear wax build-up, a perforated eardrum, or a build-up of fluid in the middle ear.

This type of hearing loss is common in older adults, who are likely to have both forms of damage at once.

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear that might not be caused by an underlying medical condition. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, but it can also occur in people who have normal hearing (called “sensorineural” tinnitus). If you have trouble sleeping because of tinnitus, your doctor may recommend that you try some of these ideas:

  • Listen to soothing music. There are many types of relaxation music available online and through streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora. Some people find that listening to classical music relaxes them, while others prefer upbeat rock or pop tunes. Whatever kind of music works for you will depend on your individual preferences and personality. Try different types until you find one that helps relieve stress when it comes time to go to bed at night!
  • Put away electronics and other distractions before bedtime if they can’t be switched off completely (like laptops). Electronic devices emit blue light from their screens which suppresses melatonin production which keeps us awake rather than sleepy like darkness does so turning them off completely may help trigger sleepiness faster after going through all those steps above about relaxing yourself first before turning off lights etc., especially if there isn’t any natural sunlight coming into room where bedtime occurs because we all need light too much even if artificial type including electronic device ones aren’t necessarily good for us long-term healthwise because they tend cause eyesight problems over time unless we wear special glasses called computer glasses which filter out harmful rays emitted from computer screens/other devices’ screens so those are safer option overall but still not ideal depending how much exposure we get daily basis due what type equipment used regularly day by day throughout weekdays vs weekends especially since weekends tend

Hearing loss comes in several forms, so it’s important to understand how your type of hearing loss affects your ability to hear sound.

Hearing loss is measured by the decibel level of sound that is heard. The higher the decibel level, the greater the hearing loss.

The following are considered normal for adults:

  • 20 – 25 dB at frequencies of 250 Hz and up to 4 kHz; 35 dB at 4 kHz or less
  • 30 – 40 dB at frequencies above 8 kHz

Mild hearing loss in adults may be characterized by any one or more of the following:

  • 25 – 40 dB at frequencies above 250 Hz through 8 kHz

Moderate hearing loss in adults may be characterized by any one or more of the following:

  • 30 – 55 dB at frequencies above 250 Hz through 8 kHz


It’s important to note that hearing loss can be a gradual process, so it may not be obvious at first. There are a few early warning signs, however, such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or feeling like you need to turn up the volume on your television or radio. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think they could be related to hearing loss, contact your doctor immediately!