Hearing Aid Threshold


At what frequency and decibel level does a hearing aid start being meaningful?



I think you’re looking for some kind of cutoffs, like a loss at x frequency or lower of y decibels or greater would warrant hearing aids. I don’t think it’s that simple, but in a way it’s simpler yet. What kinds of problems are you having hearing? Does a professional think hearing aids might help? If so, try them. If they help, keep them. If they don’t, don’t. Some people have very serious hearing losses and seem to be happy without hearing aids. Others have seemingly minor losses and really appreciate them.


One big question is 'where did you start from?" Zero dB is considered “perfect” hearing, but some people start at -10 or -15dB. By the time they lose 30 dB they are only down to 15 - 20dB loss. On paper they are still normal. But a 30 dB loss is considerable to some people. There is no magic number to gauge when you need help. Follow the advice MDB gave. If it helps and seems worth the expense, do it. If it doesn’t help or is not worth the expense, return them. Especially if you are borderline, i suggest getting a free trial so you are not out of pocket a considerable sum.


Most have acceptable loss at low frequencies and more loss at higher frequencies. Hence, they hear some things fine but lose understanding of speech. Hearing aids are beneficial for this and in my case essential.


My audiogram is now up there for any comments.


Are you having problems with your hearing? I’d guess the biggest difference aids would make would be in understanding women (especially soft spoken ones) and children. If you’re having any problems with hearing or people complaining, certainly worth giving hearing aids a try. If you’re not having any problems (including avoiding social situations because it’s hard to hear), then you’re unlikely to be motivated enough to wear them.


I have trouble hearing someone next to me in a noisy cruise ship environment. Sometimes I don’t hear the sounds of running water. I also miss the roll of thunder on the lower frequency. I always have to ask my two sisters to repeat themselves. My TV volume is a lot higher than theirs. I’m not the one complaining, but they are getting very complaining about my hearing and they are the ones who say I need a hearing aid – not me. I would rather wait and see how things look in the future 3 to 5 years.

My audiologist wants me to come back in a year, but I don’t know if it is worth the trouble.

What do you think of my audiiogram?



Your audiogram isn’t bad, but hearing aids are likely to make it easier to understand your sisters. I think you would be doing them and yourself a favor if you tried them. I think 3-5 years is too long to wait. Hearing loss tends to worsen over time and it’s likely that it becomes more difficult for you to understand others. It sounds like you don’t want hearing aids. Many people don’t, but their concerns usually have solutions.


Pure Tone average of hearing loss in decibels (averaged for 500, 1,000, 2,000 +/- 4,000 hz) of 40 dB is usually considered the level at which people should benefit from amplification.

Of course it is not as straightforward as that because a whole lot of other factors influence whether someone benefits from hearing aids. No one formula fits all but the milder the loss then the less benefit likely. If an audiologist tells you that you might not benefit then they are probably just being honest and are good at their job. The not so good ones will fit anyone with enough money and might not warn them that they are borderline or too mild a loss to benefit.

You will notice that lots of people benefit from aids with milder levels of hearing loss. Just be aware that waiting and retesting is every 1 to 2 years at most - not every 5 years.


Hi – Could you be a little clearer on the ± 4000 hz. Do you mean to include readings from 500 hz to 4000 hz or do you mean to include an additional 4000 hz of readings past 2000 hz up to 6000 hz?


George R


Where do you suppose my results might be one year from now? Two years from now? How quickly will hearing be expected to worsen (if at all)?



You have considerable loss at 4k further asymmetry between two ear also can pose you to less understanding. So go ahead otherwise you have to go near to source of sound or have to increase it for understanding. Those avg of 4 frequency now old fashoned.


Hard to say how quickly. Could be stable for years or change dramatically in a few months. Pure tone average averages the 500; 1000; and 2000 values. Sometimes it includes 4000.


I don’t think his loss would be considered asymmetrical.


MDB is right, but if you want a number about 2 dB per year on average.


Some articles say to use the lower three frequencies and some use 4.000 Hz as well. No one can tell you for sure how your hearing loss will progress because it varies. It is a good idea to get tested every year or two so you do not leave it too late to get hearing aids. You hear with your brain and it needs the stimulus of input to work.


Your audiogram is better than mine, but not by a huge extent. I derive great benefit from aids. I would say if you can afford it then definitely give some a try. You might be surprised how much they help. Moreover, I haven’t heard of hearing getting better over time, so…