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17 December 2008

Hearing loss: what does it mean?

People who cannot hear are usually described as being “hearing impaired”. This term includes different types of hearing loss, regardless of the nature, cause and extent.

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People who cannot hear are usually described as being “hearing impaired”. This term includes different types of hearing loss, regardless of the nature, cause and extent.

Let’s take a closer look at the different terms and descriptions:

Deafness: a word describing a person who cannot use his hearing.

Hard of hearing: a person whose hearing is not within normal limits, but who can use the residue of his hearing (especially aided by hearing aids) to hear speech.

Deaf and dumb: a term used in the past. Nowadays it is inappropriate because all people with a hearing loss can be taught to communicate.

It is preferable to use the term "hearing impaired" when referring to a person with a hearing loss.

Hearing loss should be graded according to a person’s degree of hearing loss, for example:

  • mild hearing loss (loss of 15-40dB)
  • moderate hearing loss (41-65dB)
  • severe hearing loss (66-89dB)
  • profound hearing loss (90-110dB)
  • total hearing loss.

A person's hearing loss is graphed on an audiogram that shows both frequency and decibel ranges.

 
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