EUROPA > DG Health and Consumer Protection > Public Health  Contact | Search 
Home | Back | Print | Forward

Table 4: World Health Organisation Grades of Hearing Impairement

(WHO, 2008)

Grade of impairment* Corresponding audiometric ISO value** Performance Recommendations
* Grades 2, 3 and 4 are classified as disabling hearing impairment (for children, it starts at 31 dB)
** The audiometric ISO values are averages of values at 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 Hz.
0 - No impairment 25 dB or better
(better ear)
No or very slight hearing problems. Able to hear whispers.  
1 - Slight impairment 26-40 dB
(better ear)
Able to hear and repeat words spoken in normal voice at 1 metre. Counselling. Hearing aids may be needed.
2 - Moderate impairment 41-60 dB
(better ear)
Able to hear and repeat words spoken in raised voice at 1 metre. Hearing aids usually recommended.
3 - Severe impairment 61-80 dB
(better ear)
Able to hear some words when shouted into better ear. Hearing aids needed. If no hearing aids available, lip-reading and signing should be taught.
4 - Profound impairment including deafness 81 dB or greater
(better ear)
Unable to hear and understand even a shouted voice. Hearing aids may help understanding words. Additional rehabilitation needed. Lip-reading and sometimes signing essential.

Source: SCENIHR,  Potential health risks of exposure to noise from personal music players and mobile phones including a music playing function (2008) , Section 3.4.1, page 22