Pick any two people experiencing hearing loss, and chances are, their needs are very different. That’s because hearing loss is different for every individual, taking into account both sound frequencies and decibels. Your hearing isn’t so much a “percentage of loss” as it is an ability to hear a range of situations.
There are four general degrees of hearing loss:
- Mild (26 – 40 dB HL threshold)
With mild hearing loss, it’s most difficult to hear soft speech or distinguish sounds when there is background noise.
- Moderate (41 – 70 dB HL threshold)
Moderate hearing loss makes it difficult to hear conversations, especially when there is a background noise. The TV or radio may need to be turned up to be heard clearly.
- Severe (71 – 90 dB HL threshold)
With severe hearing loss, normal conversations are not audible. Loud speech may also be difficult to hear or understand. People with severe hearing loss are only able to hear when speech is amplified – by shouting, turning up volume, or with hearing aids.
- Profound (91 dB HL or higher threshold)
People with profound hearing loss may have difficulty understanding even amplified speech.