Hearing loss is tested with a formal audiogram that tests your ability to hear pure tones. Hearing sensitivity may be explained as the pure-tone upper limits of a person’s hearing thresholds. The extent of an individual’s hearing loss is expressed as the degree to which the person’s hearing thresholds exceed normal hearing (0-25 dB hearing level [HL]).Mild hearing loss happens when hearing thresholds are elevated to 25-40 dB HL. Even mild hearing loss impacts an individual’s ability to understand daily conversation. Hearing aids may help someone with mild hearing loss and give them back quality of life in social situations or at work.
Moderate hearing loss occurs at 45-60 dB HL. Someone with moderate hearing loss has considerable loss of hearing that makes it difficult to understand speech. A person with severe hearing loss (75-90 dB HL) and profound hearing loss (90 dB HL or more) may consider surgical treatment with a cochlear implant.