When to Consider a Hearing Aid

When to Consider a Hearing Aid

Hearing loss, which affects millions of people globally, may have a substantial impact on communication, social relationships, and overall quality of life. While mild hearing loss may go unnoticed, more severe cases can interfere with everyday tasks and have an emotional impact. 

Maintaining good hearing health is crucial, and using hearing aids when necessary can prevent further deterioration of auditory function. Early intervention with hearing aids can also reduce the cognitive load associated with straining to hear, thus improving overall well-being and communication abilities.

What is Hearing Loss?

The inability to hear sounds, whether partial or total, is referred to as hearing loss. It can range from slight difficulties recognizing high-pitched noises to total deafness. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, affecting one or both ears.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including:


Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is common as people get older. It typically affects both ears and progresses gradually, making it harder to notice at first. Many older adults find they have trouble hearing in noisy environments, as background noise can make it difficult to distinguish speech.

Exposure to Loud Noise

Prolonged or repeated exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to noise-induced hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can occur from loud music, machinery, explosions, and other high-decibel sounds. Using hearing protection in loud environments is crucial to prevent this damage.

Ear Infections and Diseases

Chronic ear infections, otitis media, and other diseases can cause hearing loss by damaging the structures of the middle or inner ear. Conditions such as Meniere’s disease can also lead to fluctuating hearing issues and balance problems.

Genetic factors

Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to hearing loss.

Medical conditions

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid disorders are among the medical factors that might raise the chance of hearing loss.Types of Hearing Loss
For those who struggle to hear soft spoken individuals or have trouble hearing on the phone or in group settings, hearing aids can significantly improve their quality of life. Hearing aids are designed to amplify specific frequencies where hearing loss occurs, making speech and other important sounds clearer.

Based on the location of the injury, hearing loss may be divided into three types:

Conductive Hearing Loss

Occurs when the outer or middle ear is damaged, preventing sound waves from reaching the inner ear.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss 

It is the most frequent kind of permanent hearing loss and happens when the inner ear or auditory nerve is damaged.

Mixed Hearing Loss

A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss is referred to as mixed hearing loss.

Levels of Hearing Loss


Decibels (dB) are used to quantify hearing loss. Hearing loss is classified into four severity levels:

Mild Hearing Loss 

Impairs the capacity to notice subtle noises like whispering or the ticking of a watch.

Moderate Hearing Loss 

Impairs the capacity to understand regular speech, particularly in loud surroundings.

Severe Hearing Loss 

Impairs one’s ability to hear even loud noises.

Profound Hearing Loss 

It is the most severe kind of hearing loss, resulting in considerable hearing loss.

What Level of Hearing Loss Requires a Hearing Aid?

The choice to seek hearing aid help is a personal one, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issue of whether to consider getting a hearing aid. Individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss, on the other hand, might benefit greatly from hearing aids.

A hearing test is essential to determine the degree of hearing loss and to decide if hearing aids are the appropriate solution. Audiologists conduct these tests to assess how well you hear sounds and understand speech in various environments. The results of a hearing test will indicate whether you have mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.

Different Types of Hearing Aids Available

Hearing aids are available in a range of types and sizes to accommodate individual needs and preferences. Hearing aids are classified into these types:

  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE): This device is worn behind the ear and is linked to an earmold worn within the ear.
  • In-the-Ear (ITE): Specifically designed to fit within the outer ear.
  • In-the-Canal (ITC): Fits partially inside the ear canal.

Completely-in-Canal (CIC): Fits completely into the ear canal, reducing visibility.

When to See an Audiologist

When to See an Audiologist

An audiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. They may do a thorough hearing assessment to evaluate the level and type of hearing loss, as well as offer suitable treatment choices, such as hearing aids.

  • If you encounter any of the following indications or symptoms of hearing loss, you should consult an audiologist:
  • Hearing discussions is difficult, especially in noisy surroundings.
  • Requesting that people repeat themselves
  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio
  • I’m having difficulty hearing on the phone.
  • Withdrawal from social activities owing to hearing problems


Hearing loss can influence many facets of your life, but it does not have to rule you. Hearing aids may be a life-changing tool for those who have moderate to severe hearing loss, allowing them to reconnect with the world around them and live a full life. 

Always consult with an audiologist or healthcare provider to discuss your specific hearing needs and to get a comprehensive hearing test. They can provide guidance on whether you would benefit from hearing aids or if other interventions, such as cochlear implants, might be more appropriate for your level of hearing loss.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being