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.