Degrees of Hearing Loss
hearing loss refers to the severity of the hearing loss that the individual experiences.
The levels of hearing loss are generally classified as mild, moderate, severe or profound. Hearing loss that borders between two categories is typically described as a combination of the two categories (for example, thresholds at 60 dB HL might be called moderate-to-severe). The exact cutoff points for each category vary slightly according to different publications and different audiologists, but they are roughly as follows:
|Degrees of Hearing Loss ||Hearing Threshold in Decibels (dB) ||Hearing Loss |
|Normal Hearing||0-25 dB||No perceived hearing loss symptoms|
|Mild Hearing Loss||25-40 dB||Difficulty hearing and understanding quiet/soft conversations, especially situations with a lot of background noise (restaurants, classrooms, etc.)|
|Moderate Hearing Loss||40-60 dB||Difficulty understanding speech, higher volume levels are required for hearing TV and radio|
|Severe Hearing Loss||60-80 dB||Speech has to be louder than normal, group conversations are difficult|
|Severe-to-Profound Hearing Loss||80-90 dB||Difficulties with speech, comprehension becomes impossible without amplification|
|Profound Hearing Loss||90 dB and greater||Amplified speech or devices are still difficult or impossible to hear and understand|
Hearing Loss Audiogram Examples
The charts below depict examples of audiograms for different hearing loss levels. The red circles represent the right ear’s hearing and the blue X marks represent the left ear’s hearing.
Mild Hearing Loss
Audiometric thresholds ranging from 25-40 dB HL constitutes a mild hearing loss.
Moderate Hearing Loss
Audiometric thresholds ranging from 40-60 dB HL constitutes a moderate hearing loss.
Severe Hearing Loss
Audiometric thresholds ranging from 60-80 dB HL constitutes a severe hearing loss.
Severe-to-Profound Hearing Loss
Audiometric thresholds ranging from about 80-90 dB HL constitutes a severe-to-profound hearing loss.
Profound Hearing Loss
Audiometric thresholds greater than 90 dB HL constitutes a profound hearing loss.