What dB hearing needs a hearing aid?

Various dB losses require a hearing aid. The question isn't so much what decibel loss requires a hearing aid, but at what point does your hearing interfere with your life enough that a hearing aid would prove beneficial.

Because people are different, hearing aid manufacturers intentionally design an array of hearing aids suited to mild (least-affected grade of hearing loss) loss to severe. Additionally, different models of hearing aids may effect when you might wish to purchase a hearing aid. For example, original hearing aids were analog, so they were made with a specific hearing loss in mind. If your hearing changed past a reasonable range covered by your hearing aid, it might have been necessary to purchase a new one. Now, analog programmable hearing aids are adjustable, and can be programmed by an audiologist to suit your fluctuating hearing loss. Finally, and most expensively (also: what I wear) are digital programmable hearing aids. My audiologist is able to test my aided and un-aided hearing, compare it to my hearing aid programs (plugged into the computer) and change my hearing aid levels very quickly. As someone with a permanent progressive loss, this type of hearing aid is helpful because my hearing aid adjusts as my hearing does.

In general, it is advisable to get a hearing aid if you have trouble hearing, if your hearing loss is affecting your relationships with others, if your safety is affected while driving, working, or at home, or if you are unable to adjust to a more physical form of communication (cued speech, American/British Sign Language, SEE, Simultaneous Communication, lip-reading, etc.).

As far as hearing levels go, a minimum loss is 26-45 decibels, and your purchase of a hearing aid truly depends on the above questions as to whether or not it will be beneficial.

If you believe you have a hearing loss, please consult an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist to rule out any other possibilities besides a permanent hearing loss. After that, take their advice regarding seeking out an audiology specialist to assist you in choosing which particular device would be most beneficial to you!