Mild Hearing Loss

Definition and signs of mild hearing loss.

Deafness is the most severe form of hearing loss, but of course hearing loss comes in less severe forms as well. In fact, the majority of people who have a hearing loss are not deaf.


The severity of a person's hearing loss is classified according to the faintest sound that the person can hear, measured and averaged across a range of frequencies (pitches). Degrees of hearing loss range from "slight" to "profound." For a person with no hearing problem, the faintest sound that can be heard is 0 decibels, and a hearing threshold of up to 15 dB is considered normal. If the softest sound that a person can hear falls between 26 and 40 decibels, that person is classified as having "mild hearing loss."

What does that mean, in practical terms? Well, consider that if you plug your ears with your fingers, that creates a "hearing loss" of 25–30 dB — that would be categorized as a mild degree of hearing loss. Hear a realistic simulation of what this level of hearing loss sounds like.


Many people who have hearing loss don't realize it. If it is caused by repeated frequent exposure to moderately high levels of noise, it happens so gradually that it's easy not to notice it. Most doctors don't test hearing during routine check-ups, and since a person with a mild form of hearing loss will probably have no problem understanding a doctor one-on-one in a quiet office, the doctor is not likely to notice anything wrong.

But even though it can go unnoticed in some situations, mild hearing loss is a genuine hearing impairment. The main effect is that it's harder to understand what people are saying, especially if there is any background noise or if several people are talking at once. Ordinary conversation is still possible, but it takes a bit more effort to make out the words, and sometimes people have to repeat themselves; misunderstandings can creep in. Often, it's friends and family members who will be the first to notice that there's a problem.

Keeping it from Getting Worse

Most people who have lost some of their hearing due to noise have hearing loss that is slight or mild. That lost hearing can never be regained. With continued exposure to too much noise, the impairment can worsen. If you have already lost some of your hearing, it's that much more important to take care of the good hearing you have left.

Leave this page (Mild Hearing Loss) and go → Back to Effects of Noise Pollution
Leave this page (Mild Hearing Loss) and go → Back to Noise Help home page

Stay in touch:

on Twitter!  

Affiliate Disclosure:
Some of the links on this website are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. When you make a purchase, the price you pay will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor's website using a non-affiliate link. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support the website, and I genuinely appreciate your support.
Sarinne Fox
Creator and author of

This website is powered by SBI! .