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How is Hearing Loss Measured?

Hearing loss is measured by a professional during a comprehensive hearing evaluation. During a comprehensive hearing evaluation, the ability to hear speech and frequency-specific tones as a function of the loudness required to hear them is assessed. In other words, hearing is essentially measured as "loudness versus pitch." Results are plotted on an audiogram. Loudness is plotted on the y-axis with softest sounds closest to the top and loudest sounds at the bottom. Frequency is plotted on the x-axis with low pitch sounds farthest to the left, increasing in frequency as you move along the axis to the right. Hearing loss (HL) is measured in decibels (dB) and is described in general categories:

Degree of Hearing loss Audiometric Thresholds

  • Normal hearing (0 to 25 dB HL)
  • Mild hearing loss (26 to 40 dB HL)
  • Moderate hearing loss (41 to 70 dB HL)
  • Severe hearing loss (71 to 90 dB HL)
  • Profound hearing loss (greater than 91 dB HL)

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