When you have a hearing test done, your hearing ability is measured in two ways: how well you can hear across frequencies, measured in Hertz (Hz), and how loud a sound needs to be for you to hear, measured in decibels (dB). The results are expressed in levels ranging from mild to profound hearing loss.
On any level, the reduced ability to process speech sounds can affect communication. It can be difficult to hear or understand speech in noisy environments and identify where sounds are coming from.
If you have been diagnosed with a mild hearing loss, early recognition and intervention are important given the consequences of untreated hearing loss. The risk of cognitive decline and dementia exists even for those with mild levels of hearing loss.1 Also, the fatigue that is often reported by individuals with hearing loss may reflect the more intense levels of concentration required to process verbal information. This increased cognitive load is one possible explanation for associations between hearing loss and dementia, as the additional cognitive resources required for communication are used at the expense of those normally engaged for memory and other cognitive processes.1
If you start to wear hearing aids while you have mild hearing loss they may help you maintain your health and quality of life.