Four degrees of hearing loss

Hearing loss varies greatly between each person, and can occur due to a combination of reasons including long-term exposure to loud noises, heredity pre-disposition, a result of an illness or old age.

To determine a person’s hearing damage, hearing experts measure their hearing ‘frequency’. This measures the person’s decibel hearing level threshold and the level of low and high pitches they are able to hear.

There are four general degrees of hearing loss by which hearing damage is measured:

Mild (26 – 40 dB HL threshold)

With mild hearing loss, a person has trouble hearing soft speech and deciphering sounds when there is background noise around.

Moderate (41 – 70 dB HL threshold)

With moderate hearing loss, a person finds it difficult to hear conversations, particularly when there is background noise. This person might need the TV or radio to be turned up very loud, and may ask others to repeat themselves frequently.

Severe (71 – 90 dB HL threshold)

With severe hearing loss, a person is unable to hear normal conversations clearly and even loud conversations may be difficult to hear and understand. A person who suffers from severe hearing loss must have the volume up quite loud, have others shout or wear hearing aids.

Profound (91 dB HL or higher threshold)

With profound hearing loss a person may have difficulty understanding even very loud or amplified speech. Very loud environmental sounds are sometimes unheard.

If you recognise any of these scenarios above, then it may be time to have your hearing checked.

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