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Communication Disorders
Communication Disorders

Classifications of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss is classified into five categories.  The Audiogram below illustrates the different classes of hearing loss.



Not all hearing losses are the same nor do they affect people the same way. The impact of the hearing loss is affected by age of onset, cause of hearing loss, type of hearing loss and many other factors.

The table below summarizes the general impact the degree of hearing loss has on an individual.

Hearing Thresholds      (dB HL)



-10 to 15

normal hearing

Child can hear sounds and speech even if they are very soft

16 to 25

slight hearing loss

Child may have trouble hearing soft speech, soft sounds, or speech spoken from a distance

26 to 40

mild hearing loss

Child will consistently miss some speech sounds. This will be even more noticeable when there is background noise or when the child is not standing close to the person speaking.
Speech and language development may be affected.
Hearing aids will likely be beneficial.

41 to 55

moderate hearing loss

Child just barely hears speech at a conversational level in a quiet environment and may or may not be able to understand what is being said.
The child's speech and language will likely be affected.
Hearing aids are required.

56 to 70

moderately-severe hearing loss

Child may hear some speech sounds, but will be unable to understand speech without hearing aids. Speech and language development will be delayed.
Hearing aids are required.

71 to 90

severe hearing loss

Child may detect loud sounds in the environment, but will not hear normal conversational speech. Child requires hearing aids in order to learn to speak.
Sign language could be an option.


profound hearing loss

Child likely responds more to vibrations than to sounds. Child may or may not receive benefit from traditional hearing aids.
Cochlear implantation or the use of sign language are two options available that could benefit this type of loss.