Degree of Hearing Loss

Not all hearing loss is the same. Treatment will depend on how serious your hearing loss is. Audiologists can help.

You go to the audiologist for a hearing test. You may be told that you have a mild hearing loss. Or, you may find out that your hearing loss is more severe. This description is referred to as “the degree of hearing loss.” It is based on how loud sounds need to be for you to hear them. Decibels, or dB, describe loudness. The term dB HL describes your hearing loss in decibels.

The table below shows a common way to classify hearing loss.

Degree of hearing loss Hearing loss range (dB HL)
Normal –10 to 15
Slight 16 to 25
Mild 26 to 40
Moderate 41 to 55
Moderately severe 56 to 70
Severe 71 to 90
Profound 91+
Source: Clark, J. G. (1981). Uses and abuses of hearing loss classification. Asha, 23, 493–500.

If you can only hear sounds when they are at 30 dB, you have a mild hearing loss. You have a moderate hearing loss if sounds are closer to 50 dB before you hear them. To find out how loud common sounds are, visit the noise page.

Learn More About Hearing Loss

More information can be found in our Audiology Information Series [PDF]. 

To find an audiologist near you, visit ProFind.

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