The degree of hearing loss indicates the seriousness of hearing loss and its range is described in decibels. The average hearing range is 10 to 15 decibels (dB) according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
In order to determine the degree of a person’s hearing loss, a medical professional or audiologist will perform different tests to discover the softest level you can hear a tone in a particular frequency range. By looking at the degree of someone’s hearing loss, the medical professional will be able to get a good idea what solution is best for them. Below are different degrees of hearing loss at a specific frequency.
1. Slight Hearing Loss
A slight hearing loss is the lack of capacity to hear sounds within the range of 16 to 25 decibels. It means difficulty in understanding speech and hearing soft sounds, such as the falling or rustling of leaves, a whisper or the dropping of a pin. In noisy classrooms, children with slight hearing can find it more challenging to understand conversations.
2. Mild Hearing Loss
A mild hearing loss is the inability to hear sounds between 26 to 40 decibels. People with mild hearing loss may find it challenging to listen to soft-spoken people and young children. The conversation becomes difficult to understand in noisy environments. They might have to ask people to speak louder or repeat themselves. Someone with mild hearing loss may need to seek out hearing aids to make them easier to hear.
3. Moderate Hearing Loss
A moderate hearing loss is the inability to hear sounds between 41 to 55 decibels. People with moderate hearing loss find it difficult to listen to conversations with background noise. Speech must be loud to be understood. For children, they may struggle to develop learning skills due to difficulty with understanding communication. Hearing aids can help people with moderate hearing loss.
4. Moderately Severe Hearing Loss
A moderately severe hearing loss can’t hear sounds between 56 to 70 decibels. In these degrees, speech needs to be loud, and even loud speech can be inaudible with background noise. For children, language, speech, comprehension, and vocabulary are likely to be affected. A cochlear treatment is the best option for adults in this case.
5. Severe Hearing Loss
A severe hearing loss is the inability to hear sounds between 71 to 90 decibels. Someone with a severe hearing loss only hears loud sounds. Sounds in this decibel category include passing trucks, the noise of a train at 50 feet, the sound produced by a squeeze toy, and the noise made by a food processor. A person with severe hearing loss may still need to use speech read or sign language, even with hearing aids.
6. Profound Hearing Loss
A profound hearing loss is the inability to hear sounds at 91 decibels and above. At this level, even a loud noise may not be heard, which means they may be unable to understand loud sounds like trucks moving down the road, airplane engines, or fire alarms. With this level of hearing loss, cochlear implants are often an option.