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What are the Most Common Signs of Mild Hearing Impairment?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2018
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The most common signs of mild hearing impairment are slight, nearly unnoticeable difficulties in hearing. These difficulties might take the form of having to ask others to repeat themselves when speaking, turning up the radio louder than normal, or even being unable to hear a notification noise in a car or other vehicle. Often, a mild hearing impairment is so minor that it goes unnoticed until a hearing exam. For many people, a hearing impairment causes frustration because it is not recognized as difficulty hearing and seems to be caused by other people's speech. As such, frequent frustration and anger at the speech volume of others might also be seen as a sign of a mild hearing impairment.

In children, a mild hearing impairment might cause speech to develop more slowly. It also might cause older children to do poorly in some school settings. Children often have their hearing tested yearly, in which case a mild hearing impairment should be simple to catch and treat if necessary.

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For adults, a small amount of hearing loss can be a major frustration. A mild hearing impairment can make situations like noisy parties nearly impossible to bear. Even if a person can hear that words are being spoken, he may not be able to make out what those words are. This often convinces people with a mild hearing loss that the problem is with other people's speech, which makes it difficult to convince those people that they have hearing loss at all. Frequent frustration with the speech of others is a very common sign of a mild hearing impairment.

Other signs of mild hearing loss are minor and might include listening to the television or radio at a louder volume than usual or being unable to hear certain frequencies. People are very unlikely to notice these signs on their own because they occur gradually and do not usually strike people as abnormal. When someone cannot hear, for example, a turn signal when driving a car, it is unlikely to become apparent until another person points out the noise. There are a variety of tests that can be taken at home to determine if someone cannot hear a specific frequency.

It should be noted that most adults experience a certain degree of hearing loss as they age, and this loss should not necessarily be considered a hearing impairment. Some higher frequencies can be heard only be younger people, which is why most appliances and other sound-based devices do not use these frequencies. Mild hearing loss should be considered an impairment only when it actually impairs hearing.

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