Degrees of Hearing Loss

What are the degrees of hearing loss? The phrase "degrees of hearing loss" refers to the severity of the loss and is described as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Hearing loss that borders between two different categories is generally known as a combination of the two categories. An audiologist can assist you with a hearing test to determine the severity of your hearing loss.

Different Types of Hearing Loss

Here are the different degrees of hearing loss.

Mild Hearing Loss

If you have mild hearing loss, you may have trouble hearing soft-spoken people and younger children. You may also be able to hear the loud or more intense vowel sounds but may miss some of the softer consonant sounds. If you suffer from mild hearing loss, you may also have to frequently ask people to speak up or repeat themselves. This can be compared to placing fingers in the ears for a person with typical hearing.

Moderate Hearing Loss

In addition to being unable to hear consonant sounds, vowel sounds may also become an issue for people suffering from moderate hearing loss. If you have moderate hearing loss, you may also be able to hear without hearing aids but can’t always understand.

Moderately Severe Hearing Loss

Without hearing aids, speech will become inaudible during this stage. Even with hearing aids, speech can still be difficult for a person to understand. Even if a person turns up the amplification on their hearing devices, it may not always make it clear.


At this stage, without hearing aids or cochlear implants, speech is completely inaudible.


This is the final stage of hearing loss, and without hearing aids, a person may still not be able to hear extremely loud sounds such as airplane engines, traffic, or fire alarms.

Here is a table that shows a common way to classify hearing loss.

  • Normal -10 to 15
  • Slight 16 to 25
  • Mild 26 to 40
  • Moderate 41 to 55
  • Moderately severe 56 to 70
  • Severe 71 to 90
  • Profound 91+

When you go to an audiologist for a hearing test, you may be told that you have mild hearing loss. Or you may find out that your hearing loss is severe. It is based on how loud sounds need to be for you to understand them.

If you are only able to understand sounds when they are at 30 dB, you are considered to have mild hearing loss. You have moderate hearing loss if sounds are closer to 50dB before you are able to understand them.