Degrees of Hearing Loss

Hearing is measured in decibels along a frequency range.

Decibels (dB) measure the intensity of a sound or volume.

Frequency measures the pitch of a sound in Hertz (Hz)


Normal Hearing (0 – 20dB)

People with normal hearing are able to understand speech in noisy environments without the need for amplification.


Mild hearing loss (21 – 40dB)

  • People with mild hearing loss finds difficulty in understanding speech in noisy environments and from a certain distance.
  • Soft sounds are hard to hear.
  • Children benefit from hearing aids and in class they should be seated near the teacher.


Moderate hearing loss (56 – 70dB)

  • People with moderate hearing loss have difficulty in following speech without a hearing aid.


Severe hearing loss (71 -90dB)

  • People with severe hearing loss do not understand speech at normal levels.
  • They usually rely on lip reading. Use of hearing aids help them to understand speech better.


Profound hearing loss (91dB +)

  • People with profound hearing loss hear only very loud sounds.
  • Hearing aids help to obtain cues from the environment.
  • Facial expressions and lip reading help to communicate.
  • Extensive training is required to develop speech.
  • These people are definitely cochlear implant candidates.