What is hearing loss?

Your hearing is measured in a scale of decibels (dB) compared to ‘normal’ hearing. This scale is used to evaluate whether you have hearing loss, and if so, to what degree. During your hearing examination, your hearing care professional will test your hearing and present the results in an audiogram (see below).

Levels of hearing loss
This scale shows different levels of hearing loss (HL).

Normal hearing (<25dB HL)
Mild (26-40dB HL)
You have trouble hearing or understanding soft speech and whispers, or speech over background noise
Moderate (41-55 dB HL)
You have trouble hearing or understanding regular speech up close or regular speech in a quiet office environment
Moderately severe (56-70 dB HL)
You have trouble hearing or understanding everyday conversations or a telephone ringing
Severe (71-90 dB HL)
You can only hear loud sounds such as very loud speech, sirens or a door slamming
Profound (90+ dB HL)
You have trouble hearing sounds such as a motorbike or power tools

The audiogram

An audiogram is a visual representation of your hearing. During the hearing test, your hearing healthcare professional will plot the results into the audiogram.