What Does Hearing Loss Mean?

Posted on May 23, 2013. Filed under: hearing education, hearing health, hearing loss | Tags: , , , , |

Hearing impaired people have trouble hearing the full range of frequencies on the auditory spectrum. Some people are born with hearing impairments, while many others develop them over the course of time, due to illness, injury, disease, old age, or exposure to loud noises.


Your hearing is measured in a scale of decibels (dB) compared to ‘normal’ hearing. This scale is used to evaluate whether you have hearing loss, and if so, to what degree. During your hearing examination, your hearing care professional will test your hearing and let you know what level of hearing loss you have.


  • Normal hearing (<25dB HL)
  • Mild (26-40dB HL)
    You have trouble hearing or understanding soft speech and whispers, or speech over background noise
  • Moderate (41-55 dB HL)
    You have trouble hearing or understanding regular speech up close or regular speech in a quiet office environment
  • Moderately severe (56-70 dB HL)
    You have trouble hearing or understanding everyday conversations or a telephone ringing
  • Severe (71-90 dB HL)
    You can only hear loud sounds such as very loud speech, sirens or a door slamming
  • Profound (90+ dB HL)
    You have trouble hearing sounds such as a motorbike or power tools
  • What Deaf People Can Hear

For those deaf people who are not completely deaf or wear devices to allow them to hear somewhat, they will often experience more vocal language in their “inner voice” in proportion to how much they can hear.

Most hearing impaired people are hard of hearing, but can benefit from assistive devices like hearing aids.


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