If you’ve been to an audiologist for a hearing test, you’ve probably heard your hearing described in words: “Mild sloping to moderate,” “moderately-severe,” “mild to profound high frequency.” At first, these terms might seem a little confusing. What does it mean to have “mild sloping to moderate” hearing loss? It might seem like it would be much easier if we could just say, “You have 30% hearing loss,” or “You have 40% of your hearing left.” And you’re right, that would be much easier. But it would also be wildly inaccurate!
If you’re looking for the best way to quickly sum up your hearing to a friend or a loved one, ask your audiologist to show you which speech sounds you have the most trouble with. Your audiologist can plot your hearing thresholds on a graph that shows which sounds give you trouble and which ones you still hear well. That way, when a friend asks you about your hearing, you can say with confidence, “I have trouble hearing soft consonants, like insert sounds here but I can hear most other sounds well. That’s why I can hear people speaking but I don’t always understand what they are saying.”
Hearing is an incredibly complicated sense, but your understanding of your hearing loss doesn’t have to be! If you’re still unsure about your hearing loss, ask your audiologist—knowledge is power!