Degrees of Hearing Loss in Children

Hearing Loss as measured WITHOUT amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants)

Levels of Hearing Loss

Degree of Hearing Loss

Effects on Language & Speech Understanding


0 dB -
15 dB



26dB - 40dB

may have trouble hearing faint or distant sounds


41dB - 55dB

speech must be loud to be understood; will have some difficulty in group discussions

moderate to severe

56dB - 70dB

will have increasing difficulty in group
discussions; speech likely to be defective; language usage and comprehension deficiencies; vocabulary limitations


71dB - 90dB

may be able to hear loud voice about 1 foot from ear; may be able to identify environmental sounds; may be able to discriminate vowels but not consonants; speech and language will be affected if hearing loss is present before 12 months unless amplification is provided


91dB +

may be able to hear loud sounds more through vibrations than of tonal patterns; may rely on vision rather than hearing as the primary sensory channel for communication; speech and language deficiencies