Hearing Health Foundation

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Degrees of Hearing Loss

Degrees of hearing loss refer to the severity of the loss and are generally described as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Hearing loss that borders between two categories is typically labeled as a combination of the two categories (for example, thresholds at 60 dB HL might be called moderate-to-severe).



People with a mild hearing loss may have difficulty hearing soft spoken people and young children. They are often able to hear the loud or more intense vowel sounds, but may miss some of the softer consonant sounds. They may have to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves on occasion.


In addition to missing consonant sounds, vowel sounds then become more difficult to hear. People with a moderate hearing loss often comment that without hearing aids they hear, but can’t always understand.


Without hearing aids, speech is inaudible. Even with hearing aids, speech may be difficult to understand. Increasing the amplification doesn’t always make it clearer.


Without hearing aids or Cochlear Implants, speech is inaudible.


Without hearing aids, may be unable to hear very loud sounds like airplane engines, traffic, or fire alarms.

Source: Cochlear