What sounds would you miss with hearing loss?

There are varying degrees of hearing loss, but with each comes increased difficulty or loss of certain sounds. Audiologists define levels of hearing loss as normal, mild, moderate, severe and profound. Often missing these sounds can make people feel excluded, frustrated and sad. Our goal is to provide better hearing for better living, so we asked you what sounds you would miss most if you had hearing loss or didn’t have your hearing aids. 

Here is some of what you said:

  • “The jokes my grandchildren tell me!” – Teri H.
  • “That sound of a fish flopping on the dock.” – Tow M.
  • “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 would miss being included. People treat you like you are not there because you can’t participate.” —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 out of all the sense I would rather lose my hearing than my sight.” — Bee H.
  • “I would miss the voices of my husband, family, friends, my animals, and music. Too much to list just one thing.” —Michelle J.
  • “Ocean waves crashing on the beach…I love the sounds of water moving.” – Tabatha L. (@TheSinginLamb)
  • “Music!” – @CBOmusic
  • “Both my daughters’ laughter and my wife belting out some Christina Aguilera.” – Joe (@CareerGuyJoe)
  • “I would miss the sound of laughter without my hearing aids :)” – Rachel W. (@rmnweeks)
  • “Ocean waves. I love to just sit and listen to them.” – Monica G.


What about other sounds you could be missing and not realize? What types of sounds does each hearing loss level most commonly lose? See the below levels of hearing loss and the associated lost sounds to determine what other sounds you could be missing. 

Normal (up to 25dB loss in adults, 15dB in kids)

Can hear speech well in quiet or comfortable listening situations.

  •  Leaves blowing in the wind
  •  Birds chirping
  •  Water dripping
  •  Whispering

Mild (between 26-40dB loss in adults)

Has difficultly with speech and sounds in noisy or reverberating environments but does well in quiet environments.

  •  Watch ticking
  •  l, ng, m, v, f, th, s
  •  Fans
  •  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
  •  Doorbell
  •  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
  •  Firecracker
  •  Artillery fire
  •  Squeaky toy held close to ear
  •  Emergency vehicle sirens
Not sure what level you fall under? Take our free, online hearing test simulator here for an estimate. 

Common Environmental Noise Levels: http://chchearing.org/noise/common-environmental-noise-levels/

Audiogram source: How to read an audiogram http://www.nationalhearingtest.org/wordpress/?p=786

By Starkey Hearing