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Causes and Types of Hearing Loss

Between “hearing well” and “hearing nothing” lies a wide range of different degrees of hearing loss. Experts distinguish between mild, moderate, severe and profound hearing loss. Most cases of hearing loss are categorized as mild or moderate. Human speech consists of vowels and consonants at different loudness and frequency levels. They are recorded on the audiogram as a so-called “speech banana”. It is an easy way to check whether the entire spectrum of speech is still audible and how a person’s hearing changes with time.

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Mild hearing loss

Soft sounds are difficult to hear. Understanding speech is difficult in a loud environment.

Moderate hearing loss

Soft and moderately loud sounds are difficult to hear. Understanding speech becomes very difficult if background noise is present.

Severe hearing loss

Conversations have to be conducted loudly. Group conversations are possible only with a lot of effort.

Profound hearing loss

Some very loud sounds are heard. Without a hearing aid, communication is no longer possible even with intense effort