Are you suddenly struggling to hear conversations in social settings? Or do you suspect that a loved one is suffering from hearing impairment in silence? It might be time to talk to an audiologist. They can determine the type and level of hearing loss that you or your loved one may be experiencing by conducting a series of tests. The results they find can be used to help determine the right treatment method available to improve your condition. In the meantime, we’ve put together this short guide to help you understand the different levels of hearing loss and the potential treatment options offered at each stage.

Mild Hearing Loss

Mild hearing loss is typically classified as a hearing loss of 25 to 40 decibels on the audiogram. People that have mild hearing loss can still hear but struggle to understand conversation clearly. The sounds can seem muffled, especially if someone is talking from a distance. The most difficult sounds to hear are “th,” “f,” “k,” “s” and “p” sounds in speech. Add background noise, and you are likely to experience great difficulty making out conversations. This can greatly impact personal relationships, social interactions and even your career if not addressed at the right time. Children who experience mild hearing loss will have even more difficulties because they have not yet developed the vocabulary to help them make out the words and sounds. This can greatly impact their ability to learn in a classroom setting, especially if they are seated at a distance from the teacher. Untreated hearing loss is also a risk factor for more severe conditions, such as cognitive decline.

Hearing Threshold: 25 to 40 dba
Treatment: Mild hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

Moderate Hearing Loss

At this level, adults are clearly aware that they have a hearing problem. During regular conversation, they will have difficulty understanding speech even in quieter environments, and when talking one-on-one with others. At this degree of hearing loss, consonants are often not heard; only vowels are which make it a challenge to understand the conversation without closely watching the speaker. Social activities such as meals at restaurants will be difficult to enjoy, and social isolation can become a serious risk. Children that experience this degree of hearing loss may also experience issues developing speech and language skills.

Hearing Threshold: 40-75 dBA
Treatment: Moderate hearing loss can be treated with most hearing aid devices.

Severe Hearing Loss

People who have severe hearing loss cannot hear clearly without the help of an assistant device such as a hearing aid. They will often need to rely on lip-reading to make out what people are saying. They may able to hear some loud sounds, but in most cases, they will only be perceived as vibrations. At this degree, you would need powerful hearing aids or a cochlear implant. Children may require speech-language therapy after getting a hearing aid or cochlear implant to learn how to speak properly.

Hearing Threshold: 75 to 90 dBA
Treatment: Specialized Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants

Profound Hearing Loss

Those who have profound hearing loss cannot hear any sound softer than 90 dB and will also struggle to hear very loud sounds such as an airplane engine. They may rely on sign language to communicate at this level. Cochlear implants can help to improve hearing at this level, but many other devices will be ineffective at this degree.

Hearing Threshold: More than 90
Treatment: Potentially a Cochlear Implant

How Is Hearing Loss Tested?

The degree of hearing loss is measured through testing the softest sounds that a person can hear at different pitches. A trained audiologist can also determine where in the ear the damage has occurred. If you have not had a hearing test completed in the past few years, it’s important to get one done as soon as possible. Many people with mild hearing loss do not even realize they have a problem until the signs become obvious. The sooner you get treatment, the better. Contact your audiologist today to get tested.

Visit us at to book a free hearing at our Ottawa Hearing Clinic. If the tests show you have a hearing impairment, you’re in the right place to seek professional treatment. We offer quality hearing aid solutions at affordable prices, and you can even demo our devices right at our clinic. Our customers are also eligible to take advantage of our stress-free financing programs and reduced dispensing fees. To learn more check out our website today!