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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Hearing Expert

Penny Stevens is a Wits graduate of Audiology. She has been practising for 23 years, 21 of which have been in private practice. Penny is passionate about diagnostic audiology and vestibular assessment. Hearing aid fitting and managing hearing difficulties occupies most of her working day and she loves to know she has made a difference to her patient's lives. Penny is a registered member of the HPCSA as well as SAAA.

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