Definition of hearing loss 

The definition of hearing loss is not the same for everybody and the different degrees of hearing loss are divided into categories. The most common categories of hearing loss are mild hearing loss, moderate hearing loss, severe hearing loss and profound hearing loss.

Mild hearing loss

On average, the most quiet sounds that people can hear with their better ear are between 25 and 40 dB. People who suffer from mild hearing loss have some difficulties keeping up with conversations, especially in noisy surroundings.

Moderate hearing loss

On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 40 and 70 dB. People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have difficulty keeping up with conversations when not using a hearing aid.

Severe hearing loss

On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 70 and 95 dB. People who suffer from severe hearing loss will benefit from powerful hearing aids, but often they rely heavily on lip-reading even when they are using hearing aids. Some also use sign language.

Profound hearing loss

On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are from 95 dB or more. People who suffer from profound hearing loss are very hard of hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading, and/or sign language.

Adapted from: European Group on genetics of hearing impairment. Martini A (Ed.), European Commission Directorate, Biomedical and Health Research Programme (HEAR) Infoletter 2, November 1996, 8.

Get an impression of how music sounds for a person wih hearing loss or tinnitus