Everybody has a different degree of hearing loss, and it’s important to know what the different degrees of hearing loss mean. These degrees not only indicate how much a person can hear, but they also indicate what type of hearing aids they may need, since not all hearing aids work for all degrees of hearing loss.

How Degree of Hearing Loss is Measured

The way that your degree of hearing loss is determined is by having a hearing test done by an audiologist or other skilled hearing specialist. The results are usually displayed on a visual chart which is called an audiogram. Having your hearing test done by a professional is important for making sure that it’s accurate, and that you will get the right treatment for your type and degree of hearing loss.

Degree of hearing loss is measured in units called decibels hearing level (dBHL). The number given is in decibels and indicates the lowest decibel level that you are able to hear. A lower number indicates a lower level of hearing loss since you can hear quieter sounds whereas a higher number means more severe hearing loss since you’re not able to hear as quiet of sounds.

Hearing loss will be tested separately for each ear since you can have different levels of hearing loss in each ear. Some people may even experience profound hearing loss in one ear yet still have normal hearing in the other ear. If hearing loss is in both ears, this is known as bilateral hearing loss, whereas hearing loss in just one ear is known as unilateral hearing loss.

Ranks of Degrees of Hearing Loss

Based on the results of your hearing test, your hearing loss will be ranked at one of five levels: normal, mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Here, we’ll go through each degree of hearing loss and describe what that level means.

Normal Hearing

This means there is no hearing loss. Those with normal hearing can hear sounds down to 20 decibels and have no trouble following conversations even when there is a lot of background noise.

Mild Hearing Loss

Mild hearing loss is described as the lowest sounds a person can hear being between 25 and 39 decibels. For people in this range, they can generally hear well but will usually have a hard time hearing someone in a noisy room and may find themselves turning up the volume of the TV higher than normal.

Moderate Hearing Loss

This degree of hearing loss means you can only hear sounds down to 40 to 69 decibels. Without the use of a hearing aid, you will have trouble hearing others speaking even in quiet environments and will likely not be able to hear someone at all when there is too much background noise.

Severe Hearing Loss

Severe hearing loss is when the lowest sounds you can hear are between 70 and 89 decibels. In order to hear anything clearly, you will need to use an implant or else powerful hearing aids. Most sounds that you can hear will be muffled.

Profound Hearing Loss

This may also indicate complete hearing loss and could mean that you are considered legally deaf. If you have profound hearing loss, it means that you can’t hear anything quieter than 90 decibels. In most cases, people with profound hearing loss can only get hearing help from an implant, and will have to rely primarily on lip-reading and sign language to communicate.

If you or a loved one needs to find out what degree of hearing loss you have, then schedule an appointment today to have a hearing test. This is important because in most cases, hearing loss will only get worse over time, so treating it sooner rather than later can help keep you from getting to the more severe degrees of hearing loss.