Degrees of Hearing Loss

There are many levels of hearing loss known as degrees. Each degree has a specific amount of hearing loss the patient experiences when trying to hear and distinguish different sounds. There are four degrees of hearing loss and they are labeled mild, moderate, severe and profound. Each one has a defined amount of hearing loss in decibels.

People with mild hearing loss have lost approximately 25 to 40 decibels of their hearing. Many of these people can be helped by having ear wax removal done at the doctor's office. The ear wax blocks the ability of sound to penetrate the ear. If this is not the cause of their hearing loss, they can be helped with hearing devices that amplify the sounds they can hear.

Moderate hearing loss signifies a patient has lost between 40 and 60 decibels of their hearing capacity. While they can still hear sounds, many times they are confused when hearing speech. These people are good candidates for hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify sounds and make it easier for a person to hear words over background noise. Once adapted to using these aids, patients can lead an almost normal hearing life.

Severe hearing loss is measured as losing 60 to 80 decibels of sound. Even when people accommodate a person with severe hearing loss by speaking louder, their words cannot be understood. Digital hearing aids can make a huge difference to these people. A computer inside the hearing aid suppresses background noises and enhances the sounds of speech. This allows the severely hard of hearing person to understand what is being said to them. Unfortunately, a person with a profound hearing loss will need to learn to read lips to understand speech as their loss is too great for hearing aids at this time.