Why Mild Hearing Loss Might Not Be Mild at All


This is a copy of the report from my own kiddo’s (17 months old) recent audiology report.

I want to share it to help other parents interpret some of this info a little more easily because I think sometimes as parents we interpret the term “mild hearing loss” to mean it’s something that isn’t really significant.

But when I read this, I put on my SLP hat, and can see the report a little differently. I want to help connect what’s in an audiology report with what it means in real life.

A photo of a narrative portion of an audiology report that details negative resting pressure, hearing in the soundfield at 40-60dB, and a speech awareness threshold of 25 to 30 dB.

For my little guy, the rest of this report talks about how he has negative resting pressure, trouble detecting tones until they become quite loud (40-60 dB), and abnormal tympanometry results, which leads me to believe he’s got some middle ear stuff (maybe an ear infection, or eustachian tube disfunction, etc.) that can probably be treated.

But, what I really want you to understand is this–see how it says his “speech awareness threshhold” is 25-30 dB? That means he is AWARE of speech at that level…like, he knows it’s there.

It does NOT mean he can understand it. It doesn’t mean he has good access to it…he may not be able to get much information from it at all, even though he knows *something* is being said.

Also, for you and me, we have fully functional brains that already know and understand language. If someone speaks a little too softly, or if it’s noisy and we have a hard time hearing, our brains can help us fill in the bits we miss.

My son is 17 months…his brain can’t do that! He’s still learning to listen, and learning to understand language. He needs every little bit of language that’s around him in order to hear and understand his world. Even a mild hearing loss prevents that.

So, when you see “mild hearing loss,” make sure to ask how that could impact (or is impacting) speech and language development.

And, if you ever suspect your child is not hearing as well as they should be, or not developing speech and language as they should be, reach out and ask a professional for some help. The only reason I knew something was going on with his hearing is that I have been doing a lot of continuing education on listening skills.

Our children deserve it.