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How to Know if You're Hard of Hearing or Going Deaf

a woman with ear pain

If your hearing starts to deteriorate, then it’s natural to assume the worst. You fear that this is the end of your ability to hear and that you’ll end up going deaf. 

What many people don’t understand is that you can be hard of hearing and experience hearing loss without going deaf. Deafness is a severe level of hearing loss that means you’ve almost completely lost your ability to hear at all. This begs the question; how do you know if you’re just hard of hearing or if you’re going deaf?

Ultimately, there are a few signs, and things to do that will help you distinguish between the two problems. 

Get a hearing test

First and foremost, see your audiologist for a full-scale hearing examination. This is the most effective way of diagnosing your hearing loss. The test will give accurate readings of your ability to hear different sounds at different volumes and pitches, along with how well you understand speech. 

Speech is one of the key things here as deaf people really struggle to understand speech, no matter how high the volume is. The results of your test will give the audiologist an idea as to what you’re dealing with. They may find that you have minor hearing loss, or you may be further along the scale and be close to deafness. 

The beauty of a hearing examination is that it also lets the audiologist determine where the hearing loss comes from. In some cases, it could be a temporary issue brought on by impacted earwax or damage to your eardrum. As such, you can restore your hearing by dealing with these issues. 

Try using hearing aids

Typically, people with hearing loss will use hearing aids as an attempt to treat the problem. This is proven to be highly effective as the hearing aids essentially restore your ability to hear properly

If you’re hard of hearing and have mild hearing loss, then these devices will work for you. You will see dramatic improvements in your hearing abilities when you wear hearing aids. Now, you can hear everything everyone says without needing them to repeat what they’re saying. It will feel like the volume has been turned up in your life, and you can comfortably go about as usual. 

If you’re going deaf, then hearing aids aren’t going to work on you. They may provide some added amplification, but it’s not enough to help you hear at a reasonable level. Everything still seems quiet, and you still struggle to understand what people are saying. This is because deafness is such an extreme level of hearing loss that the sensory cells in your ear are almost completely damaged. Sadly, no hearing aids are going to be able to restore your hearing to a level that you’re comfortable with. 

Keep going back for hearing tests every year

As well as having the initial hearing test, you need to keep going back every year at the very least. This is essential for tracking if you have moderate hearing loss or if you’re going deaf. 

You see, regularly hearing tests will show the progression of any hearing loss. If yours stays the same after a few years, then you’re not going deaf. But, if you see dramatic deterioration in the results, then it indicates you could be going deaf. 

What is the difference between being hard of hearing and going deaf?

If you follow the three steps above, then it should help you determine if you’re hard of hearing or deaf. Most individuals struggle to tell the difference between these terms, but that’s usually because deaf is thrown around a lot in modern society. 

When someone starts experiencing hearing loss, they may say that they’re going deaf. In reality, deafness is almost a separate condition on its own. Being deaf means, you can’t hear much at all, and nothing will treat the problem. So, you rely on sign language and lip-reading to communicate with other people. Your speech will also get worse as you can’t hear what you’re saying. Hearing aids won’t provide any relief, and there’s sadly no cure. 

Experiencing hearing loss merely means that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. You can have hearing loss and not be deaf. As such, treatments can be used to deal with the situation and provide some improvements to your hearing – such as hearing aids. 

Contact us to learn more

Are you worried that you may be going deaf? Listen Hear Diagnostics can bring some clarity to the situation by offering an extensive hearing examination that diagnoses any hearing loss. Feel free to call us at 347-450-9872 to learn more about this service and receive advice on hearing loss and deafness.