Degrees of Hearing Loss

​​​​​​Degrees of hearing loss mean the severity of the hearing loss that the individual experiences. You go to the audiologist for a hearing test. You may be told that you have a mild hearing loss. Or, you may find out that your hearing loss is more severe. This description is referred to as “the degree of hearing loss.” It is based on how loud sounds need to be for you to hear them. Decibels, or dB, describe loudness. The term dB HL describes your hearing loss in decibels. degrees of hearing loss
types of hearing aids

Hearing Loss Classifications

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

0 – 25 dB

Ability to hear speech

No difficulty

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

16 – 25 dB

Ability to hear speech

Very soft speech is difficult to hear, especially from far away. Background noise can worsen comprehension.

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

26 – 40 dB

Ability to hear speech

Soft speech is muffled but comprehensible in quiet environments. Noise and reverb can further complicate speech.

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

41 – 55 dB

Ability to hear speech

Speech is difficult to understand even in quiet situations, and background noise is highly distracting. Audio must be at a high volume to be heard.

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

56 – 70 dB

Ability to hear speech

Speech is muddy and requires amplification. Communicating with a group is difficult.

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

71 – 90 dB

Ability to hear speech

Conversations at regular volume cannot be heard, and even loud speech is difficult to understand. Amplification offers little help.

Hearing threshold (in decibels, dB)

91+ dB

Ability to hear speech

Most speech is inaudible, even with significant amplification.

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