Degree of Hearing Loss

Conductive, sensorineural or mixed – hearing loss varies from mild to profound.

Mild hearing loss: When only a little hearing loss occurs.

Profound hearing loss: When there is little or no usable hearing.

Only a small percentage of children with hearing loss experience complete deafness. Most children have some degree of measurable hearing. The degree of hearing loss refers to how much hearing loss is present.

There are 5 broad categories which describe the degrees of hearing loss. The numbers below represent the softest sound a person can hear.

People with slight hearing loss may have trouble hearing faint or quiet speech. They may need to listen carefully in important or difficult listening situations.

People with mild hearing loss find it difficult to understand speech. Listening to a single person in a quiet situation may be fine. However faint or distant speaking is difficult to hear. People with mild hearing loss usually benefit from hearing aids or FM systems.

Listening is a strain for someone with moderate hearing loss. Although they may be able to understand a person in close proximity, hearing someone in a noisy environment will be difficult. People with moderate hearing loss often need parts of the conversation repeated. They may miss 50-75% of speech in a conversation. Hearing aids or FM systems will usually benefit people with moderate hearing loss.

People with moderate to severe hearing loss may miss up to 100% of speech in a conversation. They need conversations to be very loud and often benefit from hearing aids or FM systems.

People with severe hearing loss may hear a loud voice if the person speaking is 30 centimetres  from their ear. Environmental noises such as paper rustling or traffic outside may be identified by people with severe hearing loss. Despite this they often appear to ignore conversations happening around them.

People with profound hearing loss are considered to be deaf. They may:

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