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Degrees of hearing loss is a term that refers to the severity of the hearing loss. An audiologist will use a degrees of hearing loss chart to determine whether someone’s hearing is normal or if they suffer from mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound hearing loss. Each of these hearing loss degrees has its own symptoms and treatment methods.


People with normal hearing have no perceived ​hearing loss symptoms and require no treatment. Their hearing loss range is -10 to 15 decibels (dB).


Mild hearing loss is associated with a hearing loss range of 26 to 40 dB. People with this degree of hearing loss usually have difficulty hearing soft-spoken people and noises, such as leaves rustling. They may also have problems hearing and understanding conversations in environments with lots of background noise, such as bars and restaurants.

Hearing aids can usually improve hearing in people with mild hearing loss.


The hearing loss range in people with moderate hearing loss is 41 to 55 dB. Symptoms of moderate hearing loss include difficulty hearing speech when the other person is talking at a normal level and the inability to hear vowels clearly.

Hearing aids are the most common treatment for people with moderate hearing loss. Hearing aids can be customized and tuned based on the degree of loss.

Moderately Severe

In moderately severe hearing loss, speech is usually completely inaudible without hearing aids. People with this degree of hearing loss who do wear hearing aids may still have difficulty understanding speech, even when increasing the amplification setting. Many times, the television and radio volume must be turned up extremely high in order to be heard by people with moderately severe hearing loss.

The hearing loss range associated with this degree of loss is 56 to 70 dB. To follow and understand conversations, people with moderately severe hearing loss need hearing aids.


People with severe hearing loss usually cannot hear others speaking at all without a hearing aid or cochlear implant. In some instances, this degree of hearing loss may require the use of lip-reading to understand conversations. The hearing loss range in people with severe hearing loss is 71 to 90 dB.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants are some of the top treatments for severe hearing loss. Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that can help people with severe or profound hearing loss interpret and understand speech more easily. It comes with an external part that sits behind the ear and an internal part that is surgically implanted under the skin.


Of all the degrees of hearing loss, profound hearing loss is the most severe. Only extremely loud sounds can be heard when wearing a hearing aid or cochlear implant, and sign language may be relied on to communicate. The hearing threshold in this degree of hearing loss is 91 dB and greater.

Profound hearing loss may be treated using hearing aids, a cochlear implant, a middle ear implant, or an auditory brainstem implant.

A middle ear implant is a hearing device that is surgically placed into the middle ear. It works by enhancing sound vibrations to improve hearing in people with any type of hearing loss (conductive, sensorineural, or mixed).

An auditory brainstem implant is a hearing device that is surgically placed behind the ear and under the skin to stimulate hearing pathways in the brainstem. It can usually only benefit people who cannot use a hearing aid or cochlear implant due to having inner ear abnormalities.

Sonora Hearing is devoted to working with patients to reduce their risk for hearing loss and hearing-related conditions. If you are experiencing any degree of hearing loss, contact us today at (520) 881-8740 to request a hearing test and to learn more about your available treatment options.