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Hearing loss is the impairment of the body’s hearing mechanism to be able to successfully pick up sound signals and/ or an impairment of the brain’s ability to interpret the signals from the inner ear. There are many causes of hearing loss and a wide spectrum of severity of the impairment. The main classifications of hearing loss are mild, moderate, severe, and profound.
Symptoms of mild hearing loss include having trouble hearing others speak, especially in the presence of background noise. The quietest sounds heard with mild hearing loss are between 25 and 40 decibels.
Symptoms of moderate hearing loss include not being able to decipher people’s speech well at all, especially if the listener cannot see the speaker and attempt to read lips. Moderate hearing loss requires a hearing aid for the user to regain normal conversations again. The quietest sounds heard with moderate hearing loss are between 40 and 70 decibels.
Symptoms of severe hearing loss are not being able to decipher speech, even when people are shouting, and still needing to read lips once hearing aids have been adopted. The quietest sounds heard with severe hearing loss are between 70 and 95 decibels.
Symptoms of profound hearing loss are not being able to hear speech at all and relying on lip reading and sign language even when wearing a powerful hearing aid. The quietest sounds heard with severe hearing loss are 95 decibels or louder.