How Is Hearing Loss Diagnosed? The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis
According to the Canadian Association of the Deaf, nearly 4 million Canadians have hearing issues. However, how is hearing loss diagnosed, and can you self-diagnose hearing loss? With so much online information readily available, it’s often tempting to diagnose yourself.
Read on to learn more about hearing disorders, professional hearing evaluation, and the dangers of self-diagnosis.
Self-Diagnosis Based on Online Information: How Is Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
The internet has nearly-limitless information, making it feel easy to diagnose an issue. Many people that grew up with the internet are accustomed to researching their ailments.
For example, you can find online hearing tests that will play tones to check your hearing. The online test will play a tone, and you’ll confirm whether you can hear the tone.
Are these tests trustworthy? What if there are issues with your audio equipment or the website? These issues are only two of the many problems with online self-diagnosis.
There are doctor-approved apps and general screening tests that you can use, but you should always seek the advice and treatment of a hearing professional.
Understanding the Complexity of Hearing Disorders
Hearing disorders aren’t black or white. There are varying degrees of hearing loss.
- Sensorineural hearing loss deals dysfunction in the structures of your inner ear or auditory nerve. These issues can result from physical damage or a disorder.
- Conductive hearing loss is caused by something that stops sounds from getting through the outer ear canal or middle ear
- Finally, mixed hearing loss deals with a mixture of both types.
Among these three, there are also degrees of hearing loss. These range from “minimal/slight” to “profound.” Minimal/slight hearing loss is not being able to hear softer sounds, whereas profound hearing loss approaches almost no hearing of all sounds.
Here’s a quick list to help you understand the range of hearing loss degrees. The following list shows the degree of hearing loss followed by the hearing loss range in dB:
- Normal: -10 to 15
- Minimal / Slight: 16 to 25
- Mild: 26 to 40
- Moderate: 41 to 55
- Moderately severe: 56 to 70
- Severe: 71 to 90
- Profound: 91+
Understanding how complex hearing loss is will help you see why self-diagnosis is difficult. Your audiologist can diagnose you with more accuracy.
The Risks of Delaying Professional Evaluation and Treatment
Once you’re diagnosed properly, you can begin working towards treatment. What are the risks of delaying evaluation and treatment? Think of an injury or disorder that needs treatment. How long are you willing to let a broken arm wait without treatment?
Some forms of hearing loss will continue to get worse if you don’t have them treated. If there’s damage to your ear from dangerously loud noise, like power tools, industrial noise, music concerts, continued exposure will worsen the damage.
As the damage gets worse, your difficulties hearing will likely worsen as well. Delaying your evaluation and treatment can cause a minimal hearing loss being caused by noise to be missed, and the damage can continue to build with more noise exposure, making your permanent hearing loss more severe!
Having your audiologist evaluate you can help you stop the damage before it gets worse. You’ll need treatment as soon as possible to remedy the situation.
The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more uncomfortable you’ll be in the meantime. Disregarding the worsening of hearing loss, your difficulties won’t fade until you’re treated.
Beginning a hearing aid treatment plan can help improve how you hear and connect with your world. Online information can help with diagnosing hearing disorders, but it won’t help your treatment. Visit an audiologist today to begin your treatment.
Delaying your treatment isn’t always delaying time to get better. Instead, you may find that delaying treatment stopped your ability to get better.
As the condition worsens, the damage may become catastrophic. Moderate hearing loss is much more difficult to for you to manage than slight hearing loss, for example.
The Importance of Personalized Care for Hearing Disorders
Everyone’s ear is different, and your condition won’t be a perfect match for other people. Finding online information isn’t the same treatment as personalized hearing care.
An example is a person that has lost hearing due to physical damage. Online, it’s difficult to diagnose where the damage is, how severe the damage is, and similar factors.
If your care isn’t personalized, you won’t receive the proper care. One common mistake is believing the issue is audio not being loud enough. You can hear, but not quite understand what you’re hearing.
In response, a self-diagnosed patient would begin listening to things louder. Music, entertainment, and other sources of audio all become louder to increase clarity.
Doing this “treatment” could instead worsen the damage for temporary clarity. Ensure that you’re receiving personalized treatment instead of general fixes.
The Role of Audiologists in Hearing Health Care: Designing a Hearing Aid Treatment Plan
Your audiologist can do examinations and screening tests that will examine the damage. By doing so, they can personalize your care to what’s most effective for you.
Personalized treatment is difficult to make yourself after self-diagnosing. Your audiologist can help diagnose your treatment with more clarity than a home test.
For example, an online hearing test may help you find a varying degree of hearing loss. A precise screening from your audiologist will find the exact degree, and type of hearing loss, and how to treat the issue.
The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis Hearing Loss
How is hearing loss diagnosed, and what is an audiologist’s role in treatment? Self-diagnosis for hearing loss is dangerous and can result in an inaccurate diagnosis. You also may put off proper treatment, which an audiologist can help you begin.
For more information on professional hearing evaluation and how to schedule a screening, Soundwave Hearing can help. You can also browse our informative site to read more on hearing disorders and how your lifestyle can affect your hearing.
All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.