Hearing management

Updated 29 January 2015

What is hearing loss?

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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Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Tarryn Richardson is a UCT graduate of Audiology. She has run a successful private practice for the past 8 years, and before that worked in the public sector of Audiology. She is passionate about diagnostic audiometry and hearing aid technology and has a specific interest in Tinnitus Management. Tarryn studied further in this field at the University College of London (UCL) in 2012. Tarryn is the proud mother of a beautiful baby boy, Liam. In her free time she loves to travel, hike and spend time with her family.

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