It may seem pretty straightforward, you can either hear or you can't - right? Not exactly, there are many different types, degrees, and even “shapes” of hearing loss.
Working with a hearing care professional
to determine the nature of your hearing loss
will ensure that you get the right kind of hearing aid for your type of hearing loss.
There are several different possible shapes, or configurations, of hearing loss:
Progressive vs. Sudden:
Progressive hearing loss develops and becomes worse over time, while sudden hearing loss occurs quickly, usually after exposure to a loud noise. See a hearing care professional
immediately if you experience sudden hearing loss.
Stable vs. Fluctuating:
A stable hearing loss does not improve or worsen over time, while fluctuating hearing loss may get better or worse with time.
Bilateral vs. Unilateral:
Bilateral hearing loss affects both ears, while unilateral hearing loss involves just one of your ears.
Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical:
Symmetrical hearing loss means you have the same type and degree of loss in both ears; an asymmetrical hearing loss means the type and degree of loss is different in each ear.
In order to determine the degree or severity of your hearing loss, your hearing care professional will conduct a thorough examination and a hearing test
. The results of this non-invasive test will be charted on an audiogram and will indicate the level of hearing loss you have. Hearing loss is usually classified or ranked in seven degrees: normal, slight, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, and profound.