Understanding the Degrees of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss comes in all shapes and sizes. Degrees of hearing loss can also vary greatly.

Some people encounter sudden hearing loss associated with a traumatic event. Others experience a gradual loss along with the natural process of aging. Some experience hearing loss in one ear while others experience loss in both ears at the same time. Even those who have hearing loss in both ears may find it is affecting one more than the other.

These variations in the experience of hearing loss make each case unique. One of the major ways that hearing loss can be categorized is according to the degree of severity. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to understand hearing loss according to that system of categorization.

The Hearing Test

If you’ve recently visited us at Hearing Group for a hearing test, then you are familiar with the process. If you are anticipating your first hearing test, here is a general overview of how hearing specialists diagnose a hearing loss.

Hearing tests come in many forms, but the most common form is pure tone audiometry. In this type of hearing test, tones will play at different volumes and at different pitches, ranging from low to high. The combination of volume and pitch can result in a sound that you either can or cannot hear. Your hearing specialist would have prompted you to signal by raising your hand or pressing a button each time that you heard a tone.

Diagnosing a Hearing Loss

After this exam, the examiner will lay out the results in an audiogram. This graph demonstrates the patterns in your hearing. Most people lose the ability to hear higher frequencies before the lower frequencies. The audiogram will show what volume is necessary in order for a person to hear a frequency. It is set in an arrangement from low to high. With this graphic demonstration in hand, an audiologist can determine whether a hearing loss is present and designate the degree of hearing loss experienced.

Degrees of Hearing Loss

The volume at which a sound can be heard is measured in decibels, and each of the degrees of hearing loss designates a range of loudness.

  • Mild

The inability to hear sounds under 40 decibels is a mild hearing loss. But this rage of the volume is relatively quiet. Those with mild hearing loss find that they cannot hear sounds as quiet as the rustling of leaves, a whispering voice, or normal breathing. Some have trouble hearing only at high frequencies. Similarly, those with mild hearing loss may be unable to hear voices within a loud environment like a restaurant or concert. This form of hearing loss is also quite commonly not diagnosed. Those who cannot hear these quiet sounds may not even know that they are unable to do so, or they may think it is not a big deal.

  • Moderate

Sounds between 40 and 60 decibels register in the range of moderate hearing loss. These sounds are typical of a quiet office or country home. At this level of hearing loss, a person may have trouble keeping up with a conversation at a normal volume, even within an otherwise quiet space. Certain sounds, consonants, and accents may be lost in the conversation, leading a person to misunderstand or only partially understand.

  • Severe

If you have trouble hearing sounds up to 80 decibels, your hearing loss is considered to be severe. These sounds are relatively loud, such as a vacuum cleaner, hairdryer, or coffee grinder. At this level, a person will almost certainly require assistance in the form of hearing aids in order to be able to get along in public.

  • Profound

Those with profound hearing loss are unable to hear sounds until they occur over 80 decibels. Examples of this level of sound would be a lawnmower, food blender, or motorcycle.

Visit Us at Hearing Group

Knowing the degrees of hearing loss is only the first step along your path to healthy hearing. It is important to take a hearing test with a trained professional in order to know the accurate degree of hearing loss you may be experiencing. Understanding your personal hearing profile is necessary to get the right assistance for the situations when you need it most. Don’t hesitate to contact us at Hearing Group to schedule a hearing test and consultation!

Jesse Hidalgo, BC-HIS

Jesse is Board Certified in Hearing Instruments and has built over 25 practices during his business career starting in 1998. Using his training in Hearing Instrument Sciences he has helped thousands of patients across those practices hear better.
Published: December 31, 2018

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Noise Can Damage More Than Hearing
Loud noise is not only bad for your ears but can play a negative role in your overall health. Exposure to loud and annoying sounds can affect our blood pressure, cause headaches, cause irritability, and even cause fatigue. When we hear a sound that is annoying to us,...
Making the Most of Your Appointments
Just like your car, your hearing aids and hearing health can benefit from routine care and maintenance. After a hearing aid fitting, you are likely to be asked to come back for follow-up appointments. These routine visits offer great opportunities for you to ask your...
What to Ask Your Hearing Aid Specialist
Coming to terms with your hearing loss isn’t easy. Chances are you’ve put off going to the hearing aid clinic for as long as you could. In that time, you probably got used to living with hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid can feel overwhelming at first. It’s a big...
Tips on Tinnitus Relief
How Do I Improve Tinnitus? Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition known to cause ringing, buzzing, and other noises in the ear. During the day, these sounds aren’t as noticeable. But when nighttime rolls around and you should be...
Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged?
Reasons for that Clogged Ear Feeling Are you having issues with your ears? Do they feel stuffy and clogged? Are you suffering from sudden hearing loss or difficulty hearing? There could be a simple reason for this – impacted earwax, a sinus infection or something...
Acupuncture for Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: Does it Really Work?
Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment that began in China. This therapy involves sticking small needles in very specific parts of the body. It may be used to treat pain and help with other conditions. A person with hearing loss may want to try acupuncture for...
Studies on Hearing Loss & Injuries
Hearing loss is an issue that affects millions of people and there are various causes that some might not have considered. This article is going to highlight a few of the symptoms associated with hearing loss, certain causes, possible treatments, and the benefits of...
Hearing Loss Cures of the Past
There is a long list of past "treatments" for hearing loss. It's important to note that none of these were ever scientifically proven to work and can, in most cases, actually do more harm than good. Thankfully, doctors, today do not prescribe such bizarre remedies....
Ear Infections & Hearing Loss
Ear infections are more often seen in children than in adults, although untreated infections in adults can be more serious. Infection of an adult ear should be carefully diagnosed and monitored by a physician to lower the risks of problems. There are certain factors,...
Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments
Parts of the Ear There are three basic parts of the ear: Outer ear - the outermost portion of the ear Middle ear - found between the inner and outer ear, includes the Ossicles, Malleus, Incus, and Stapes Inner ear - The innermost portion of the ear consisting of the...
Call Now Button