What are the levels of deafness? mild, moderate and severe hearing loss!

4 level of Deafness

A person who is deaf has difficulty hearing, understanding speech clearly, and comprehending what is happening in the world. There are four levels of deafness, but not everyone with these levels has the same degree of impairment.

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Completely Deaf

Someone who completely deaf lacks any ability to hear any sound at all is considered to be completely deaf. This can be caused by exposure to loud noises over a period of time or genetics. A person will exhibit one hundred percent hearing loss if they are completely deaf.

Mild Hearing Loss

This level is where you can hear some sound but it requires extra effort for you to make out what people are saying or understand conversation because the sound isn't crystal clear or there's background noise. An average person with mild hearing loss struggles to understand what other people say or can clearly hear someone but has to strain their ear and concentrate harder than others to understand them.

Moderate Hearing Loss

This level happens when a person can hear, but it's frequently difficult for them to understand speech clearly. The person will be able to hear but it requires effort and those who have this level of hearing loss won't be able to carry on a conversation as well as those who are totally deaf. This is the level of loss that happens when people live in large populated areas such as cities because there is intense background noise and traffic that makes it difficult for them to hear or understand speech.

Severe Hearing Loss

This is the most severe level and happens when a person is unable to hear any sound at all. People with this level of hearing loss will be completely deaf and will need to use a hearing aid or cochlear implant in order to understand language.

What is moderate deafness?

Some people with milder forms of deafness can also suffer from moderate hearing loss, which means they can hear some sounds but will need to strain their ears and concentrate harder than those who are totally deaf.

Those who have moderate hearing loss often find it hard to understand speech and problems with the spoken word aren’t uncommon for them because of this.

People with moderate hearing loss will be able to hear certain tones and rhythms, but only the ones that are close to them and which aren't drowned out by background noise.
In addition, those with moderate hearing loss will find that some sounds are too quiet as well as some speech is mumbled by those who speak as though they have a mouthful of food.

Finally, those with moderate hearing loss often have a problem with speech comprehension and background noise. This means they can understand some words but not others so it can be hard for them to follow a conversation without asking someone to repeat themselves.

What level of hearing loss is considered deaf?

Some of the most common causes of hearing loss include noise-induced hearing loss, hereditary hearing loss, and congenital hearing loss. Deafness can also be caused by infections or illnesses that affect the inner ear or by injury.

Hearing loss is only classed as deaf when it's on a permanent basis and has had an impact on your communication skills.

The American National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) consider someone to be ‘deaf’ if they have moderate or profound hearing loss. These are the two most serious levels of hearing impairment and are often attributable to illness rather than injury or accident.

What causes hearing loss in an individual?

While most people with hearing loss experience gradual reductions in their hearing over time, there are many cases where it's caused by sudden injury or illness.

Congenital deafness is when someone is born with a form of deformity of their outer or middle ear, while noise-induced hearing loss happens when someone has been exposed to impulsive sounds over a period of time that can damage the inner ear or cochlea. It's often caused by loud music, factory work, shooting guns, and listening to loud music on your headphones for extended periods of time.

Other causes of hearing loss include trauma, side effects of medicines and disorders of the immune system.

What should you do if you think your child is deaf?

If you believe your child has hearing loss, it's important to seek professional advice from an audiologist or speech and language therapist (SLT). It's often difficult to diagnose a case of hearing loss unless you take someone along with you and ask them to repeat what they're saying while the other person is listening.

A psychologist will also be able to identify whether or not it's natural or caused by illness. If it's natural, then there won't be anything that can be done about it. If the hearing loss is the result of illness such as a tumour, then it can be treated.

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is someone who's qualified to assess hearing loss and recommend whether or not the level of hearing loss requires you to seek professional advice. They're also able to provide one-on-one communication therapy, which teaches people how to use their voice so they can understand what it is they're saying. If you've lost your sense of hearing, it's important that you seek an assessment so your communication skills aren't adversely affected.

Does being deaf in one ear qualify as a disability?

No, being deaf in one ear doesn’t qualify as a disability as long as you can hear in the other ear.

It's not uncommon for people to say that it doesn't matter if you're deaf in one ear as long as you can hear in the other. The truth is that even if your other ear is healthy and you don't know what it's like to be deaf, it can still be very frustrating. You should speak to an audiologist or SLT and ask them how they would feel and what they might do if they were forced to be completely deaf in one ear.

It takes many years of therapy to learn how to communicate with others independently, but if there's a chance that your communication skills could be negatively affected by a hearing loss then you should seek help.

Can you drive if deaf?

Yes, it's perfectly possible to drive if you're deaf in one or both ears. If you have something wrong with your ears then you aren't automatically disqualified from being able to drive. However, if your hearing loss is so severe that you can't hear the voices of police officers, then there are special rules that state that they can force you to take a medical examination if they see you driving on the road.

When it comes to hearing aids or cochlear implants, they only help people who are partially deaf with their ability to hear by around 50% or more. If your hearing is severely impaired, there may not be any way of making it less dangerous for you to drive on the road by using equipment such as these devices.

Is deafness a disability?

No, being deaf isn’t a disability in itself. It’s only classed as a disability when it has an adverse affect on your ability to communicate with others.

This includes being unable to hear or understand what people are saying because of the condition, or if you have to wait for someone else to translate what someone is saying if you wear hearing aids.


Sometimes there is no way of stopping someone from getting deaf after they've sustained an injury or illness. While deafness doesn't prevent you from making friends or having a successful career, it can be isolating when you're surrounded by people who don't know how to speak in sign language.

If you're worried about feeling left out at work or home, then you should talk to your audiologist about getting fitted with some hearing aids or find out whether wearing headphones in public is considered acceptable or not. It's also important that your employer knows any special needs that you may have so they can make arrangements for you if possible.


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