Degrees of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss as measured WITHOUT amplification
(hearing aids, cochlear implants)


Levels of Hearing Loss

Degree of Hearing Loss

Effects on Language & Speech Understanding

Normal Hearing 0 dB –
15 dB


Mild 16dB – 30dB May have trouble hearing faint or distant sounds
Moderate 31dB – 50dB Speech must be loud to be understood; will have increasing difficulty in group discussions; Speech likely to be defective; Language usage and comprehension deficiencies; Vocabulary limitations
Severe 51dB – 80dB May be able to hear load voices about 1 foot from ear; May be able to identify environmental sounds; May be able to discriminate vowels but not consonants; speech and language will be affected if hearing loss is present before 12 months unless amplification is provided
Profound 81dB + May be able to hear loud sounds more through vibrations than of tonal patterns; May rely on vision rather than hearing as the primary sensory channel for communication; Speech and language deficiencies