There are many different types and levels of hearing loss. Each type and level comes with the increased loss or difficulty hearing particular sounds. The different levels of hearing loss, according to hearing professionals, are normal, mild, moderate, severe and profound. Missing certain sounds can leave a person feeling excluded, sad and frustrated. Starkey’s goal is to provide you with a better life by improving your hearing. Therefore, we asked our readers what sounds they would miss the most if they had hearing loss or had to live without hearing aids.
Here are a few examples:
“Ocean waves. I love to just sit and listen to them.” - Monica G.
“The jokes my grandchildren tell me!” - Teri H.
“I would miss the voices of my husband, family, friends, my animals and music. Too much to list just one thing.” - Michelle J.
“That sound of a fish flopping on the dock.” - Tow M.
“I would miss the sound of laughter without my hearing aids :)” - Rachel W.
“My son’s voice. I already have difficulty hearing with mine broken. But at least I can hear his voice still till further notice. That is all that matters. To be there for him and still hear a whisper in my ears of his voice.” - Melishia K.
“I’d miss being included. You’re treated like you’re not there when you can’t take part.” - Lana H.
“I miss talking on the phone with clarity other than that I’m good not to be able to hear everything I always said of the senses I would rather lose my hearing than my sight.” - Bee H.
Different levels of hearing loss
What other sounds are you missing without realizing it? Which types of sounds does each hearing loss level normally lose? Below are different levels of hearing loss and the associated lost sounds to show what more you could be missing.
Normal (up to 25dB loss in adults, 15dB in kids)
Able to hear speech well in quiet and/or comfortable listening environments.
- Leaves blowing in the wind
- Birds chirping
- Water dripping
Mild (between 26-40dB loss in adults)
Difficulty hearing speech and sounds in noisy or reverberating surroundings but does well in quiet environments.
- Watch ticking
- l, ng, m, v, f, th, s
- Babbling brook
Moderate (41-70dB loss in adults)
Has an issue understanding speech, especially with background noise, and requires higher levels of volume for TV, radio and phone.
- j, z, g, i, u, b, d, a, o, r, p, ch, sh, h, k
- Baby crying
- Conversational speech
- Normal office noise
Severe (71-90dB loss in adults)
Regular speech is inaudible, even when loud, and it is difficult to discriminate speech. Comprehension is possible via amplification but still not “normal."
- Piano music
- Telephone ringing
- Whistling teakettle
- Coffee grinder
- TV audio
- Alarm clock
Profound (91dB or more in adults)
Speech discrimination is difficult even with amplification or is completely inaudible.
- Airplanes and helicopters
- Artillery fire
- Squeaky toy held close to ear
- Emergency vehicle sirens
Not sure what level you fall under? Take our free, online hearing test here.
For a full, comprehensive hearing assessment, visit a local hearing professional. They’ll be able to diagnose the type and level of hearing loss you have - and they’ll provide available treatment options! Click here to find one in your area or call (888) 919-6824.