Hearing Loss

What is hearing loss?

  • Hearing loss, as defined by The Medical Dictionary (2014), is any degree of impairment of the ability to apprehend sound, where sound is measured in decibels (dB). 


  • It is an invisible condition that affects people of all ages. It can have a major impact on the lives of individuals as hearing is a vital sense that enables people to interact with others and understand the world around them.


  • An individual with normal hearing would have a scale of 25 decibels (dB) or better in both ears. The levels of hearing loss can be mild (26-40dB), moderate (41-55dB), moderately severe (56-70dB), severe (71-90dB) or lastly profound (90+dB) (World Health Organisation, 2014).




  • Individuals with hearing loss can benefit from hearing devices such as hearing aids, assistive devices, sign language training and educational and social support (World Health Organisation, 2014). It is major public health concern in US.



Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be described as being either congenital (you were born with it or it appeared soon after birth) or acquired (types of hearing loss that appear later on in life).

Hearing loss is categorised as:

-Conductive: Hearing loss includes failure of the ear canal to be opened at birth, malformation and/or dysfunction.

-Sensorineural: Hearing loss due to problems to the inner ear which can result from exposure to loud noises.

-Mixed Hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is the combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It includes failure of the ear canal and inner ear.

Global impact of hearing loss in adults, and its impact on children

  • There are over 360 million people in the world (5% of the worlds population) who suffer from hearing loss (World Health Organisation, 2014). Children that suffer from hearing loss may have a slow development which can have a huge impact on their childhood. This can be carried on through adulthood where it can be seen that their communication skills have been affected.


  • An individual that suffers from hearing loss is impacted severely whether it be emotionally or physically. With hearing loss, the physical impact leads to emotional effect (Torres, K.2008). As they may be unable to verbally communicate to other people, the individual suffering from hearing loss will sometimes feel lonely and/or isolated (World Health Organisation, 2014). 


  • Three out of every 1000 babies are born with hearing loss. Researchers show that the academic performance of a child with hearing loss is poorer than a child without hearing loss and they may also need to repeat a grade.


  • Hearing loss can also impact on the quality of life in older adults. Results show that severity of hearing loss is associated with reduced quality of life in older adults (Caballero, Franco, Navarrete, Lehrer, and Sprekelsen, 2010).


What it feels like to experience different types of hearing loss





 
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