"Hearing loss can be in one ear or both, and the degree of loss can be different in each ear."

The Different Levels of Hearing Loss

by | Dec 8, 2022 | Patient Resources

Hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes and cancer, with 13 % of adults reporting difficulty hearing and 29.7% of adults over 65 having a hearing difficulty. Between men and women over the age of 45, 16% of women have some difficulty hearing compared to 22% of men.

Sadly, only 15% of adults with hearing difficulty saw an audiologist in the past two years, which is concerning considering the many serious long-term consequences of not treating a hearing loss.

One of the reasons why so many adults avoid seeing an audiologist is because they have no idea they have a hearing loss in the first place. Hearing loss can be very gradual, especially when it’s caused by aging.

If loud sounds don’t bother you, you probably already have some hearing loss. Friends and family are usually the first ones to notice. Even then, they are often not believed.

In addition to the level or degree of hearing loss, it can be in one ear or both, and the degree of loss can be different in each ear.

Duncan Hearing Health Care have put together a list explain the different levels of hearing loss below to help you see what degree of hearing loss you or a loved one might be experiencing.

Levels of Hearing Loss

Degree of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Range (dB HL)

dB Sounds

Normal –10 to 15  
Slight 16 to 25  
Mild 26 to 40

30 dBA = whisper, quiet library

40 dBA = quiet room


41 to 55

50 dBA = moderate rainfall

60 dBA = conversation, dishwasher, dryer

Moderately severe

56 to 70 70 dBA = group conversation, vacuum cleaner, alarm clock
Severe 71 to 90  
Profound 91+

91 dBA = subway, passing motorcycle, gas mower

94 dBA = hair dryer, kitchen blender, food processor

100 dBA = tractor, listening with earphones

106 dBA = gas leaf blower, snow blower

Clark, J. G. (1981). Uses and abuses of hearing loss classification. Asha, 23, 493–500. ASHA, “Loud Noise Dangers.”

Do You Have Hearing Loss?

1.  Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

When a person has mild to moderate hearing loss, they can’t hear quieter sounds like a faucet dripping, a whispered conversation, or leaves rustling. Many people with a mild hearing loss are unaware that they do because the loss has been so gradual.

However, even a mild hearing loss can cause people to miss 25 to 40% of any conversation from not being able to hear words clearly. The sooner a person with a mild hearing loss gets correct hearing treatment, the better the long-term outcome.

3.  Moderate Hearing Loss

When a hearing loss is moderate, it means that person cannot hear softer sounds like the wind, birds singing, the doorbell, or a car on the road. It is also difficult to hear conversations in a noisy room.

Prescription hearing aids are an excellent treatment solution for this type of hearing loss.

3.  Severe Hearing Loss

If you have severe hearing loss, you can’t hear a typical or group conversation, louder household appliances like a vacuum cleaner, or a gas lawnmower.

Prescription hearing aids are a good treatment option for this type of hearing loss too.

4.  Profound Hearing Loss

Profound hearing loss is diagnosed when a person cannot hear speech unless the volume is very loud, the noise is very close, and the diction is very clear.

It is possible to treat profound hearing loss with prescription hearing aids, but many people are now getting cochlear implants, if they pass the candidacy test.

Think You Have Hearing Loss?

Schedule a hearing assessment in our hearing clinic in Denton, Texas. Only with a professional hearing test will you have your hearing tested accurately and be able to talk with an audiologist about the best treatment plan to improve your hearing.

If you have any questions about hearing loss, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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Dr. Katie L. Kufeldt, Audiologist

Dr. Kufeldt received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences as well as her Doctorate of Audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology, Texas Academy of Audiology and is certified by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. She is licensed by the State of Texas to practice audiology and fit and dispense hearing aids.

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