How severe is your hearing loss? 
Each person has a unique type and level of hearing loss, and some hearing aids may work better for you than others. Your hearing professional will take into account your degree and type of hearing loss when recommending a type of hearing aid.
Hearing loss levels      
Degrees of hearing loss described in decibels    
In terms of verbal communication, this would generally suggest:
Sounds you could be missing


11 to 25 dB

Few difficulties

Water dripping

26 to 40 dB

Difficulty hearing faint or distant speech

A ticking clock

41 to 55 dB

Cannot hear faint speech, difficulty at conversational speech

Vacuum cleaner
Moderately severe

56 to 70 dB

Cannot hear faint speech, difficulty at conversational speech

Dog barking

71 to 90 dB

Cannot hear conversational speech, difficulty with loud speech

Baby crying

91 dB and over

Cannot hear loud speech, difficulty hearing loud sounds



There are typically six degrees of hearing loss which your hearing care professional will use to describe your hearing loss at different frequencies. 

You should feel free to discuss the audiogram with your hearing care professional. Ask which sounds (frequencies) and which loudness (intensity) you are able to hear.

This information can give you a good start in understanding your unique way of hearing the world around you.

There are four shapes of hearing loss that you could be experiencing.
  • Bilateral vs. unilateral
    Bilateral involves hearing loss in both ears, while unilateral hearing loss is only in one ear.

  • Symmetrical vs. asymmetrical
    Symmetrical means that your level and type of hearing loss is the same in both ears. Asymmetrical means that your ears have different types or levels of hearing loss.

  • Progressive vs. sudden hearing loss
    Progressive hearing loss gets worse over time, while sudden hearing loss happens spontaneously – like after being exposed to a very loud noise.

  • Fluctuating vs. stable hearing loss
    Fluctuating hearing loss can get better or worse over time, while stable hearing loss will stay the same.