Hearing Loss in Percentages and Decibels

For years, I’ve been mystified when hearing people refer to their hearing loss in percentages. “I have lost 37% hearing in my left ear.”

Since I was thirteen and had my first audiogramme, that is how I’ve been thinking of hearing loss. In decibels, presented as a graph of how loud a sound needs to be so I can hear it, at various frequencies. I’ve showed my audiogramme on Open Ears already but here it is again:

Steph Audiogram

As you can see, at 500Hz I don’t hear sounds below 50dB, but at 4000Hz (higher pitch sounds) my left ear has almost “normal” hearing, as I can hear sounds as soft as 20dB. As is the case for most people, my hearing loss is not the same at all frequencies.

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