Levels of Hearing Loss

Classifying level of hearing loss alone does not provide us with the whole picture of what is going on? It is equally important to determine the cause of hearing loss. It is possible for two individuals to have identical hearing levels of hearing loss but the cause of the two hearing losses may differ, and the problems that each person experiences may also differ. A diagnostic hearing evaluation encompasses tone testing, but additional test procedures that clarify which part(s) of the hearing mechanism are failing. Finding an Audiologist is essential in determining the correct and efficient methods of optimizing your hearing solution. If any of these problems require medical intervention, a referral to an ENT or otolaryngologist is appropriate.

Normal Hearing Loss

Sounds below the lines on the audiogram can be heard. All the X and 0 are above the 20dBHL line. This means hearing is within normal limits. When testing children we accept a response at 25dBHL to be within normal limits. 

 

Mild Hearing Loss

All the X and 0 are above between 21dBHL and 40dBHL lines. This is a 'mild' loss. 

Mild Hearing Loss Diagram

Moderate Hearing Loss

All the X and 0 are above between 41dBHL and 70dBHL lines. This is a 'moderate' loss. Sounds below the lines on the audiogram can be heard. Low/loud sounds like oo, ah, ay and ee may be heard because these are "voiced" sounds. Voiced sounds are easier to ear because when the vocal cords vibrate during production of a phoneme, lower frequency energy is produced and heard.

Moderate Hearing Loss Diagram

Severe Hearing Loss

All the X and 0 are above between 71dBHL and 95dBHL lines. This is a 'severe' hearing loss. Conversational speech cannot be heard. Shouting and loud noise (like traffic) can be heard. 

Severe Hearing Loss

Profound Hearing Loss

All the X and 0 are below the 95dBHL line. This is a 'profound' hearing loss. Speech cannot be heard. Very loud noises like jackhammers and planes taking off can be heard or felt.