Hearing impairment, deafness, or hearing loss refers to the total or partial inability to hear sounds.

Symptoms may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. A patient with a mild hearing impairment may have problems understanding speech, especially if there is a lot of noise around, while those with moderate deafness may need a hearing aid.

Some people are severely deaf and rely on lip-reading to communicate with others. People who are profoundly deaf can hear nothing at all and can find themselves totally reliant on lip-reading or sign language.

In the United States, around 15 percent of people over the age of 18 years report some level of hearing loss, learn more about treatments from these sonus complete reviews.

Causes
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Hearing loss refers to either partial or total reduction in the ability to hear sounds.

Some diseases or circumstances that can cause deafness include:

  • chicken pox
  • cytomegalovirus
  • mumps
  • meningitis
  • sickle cell disease
  • syphilis
  • lyme disease
  • diabetes, as studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to have some kind of hearing loss http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-complications/hearing-loss-and-deafness.html
  • a treatment for tuberculosis (TB), streptomycin, that is believed to be a key risk factor
  • hypothyroidism
  • arthritis
  • some cancers
  • teenagers exposed to second-hand smoke

The inner ear is home to some of the most delicate bones in the body, and damage to the eardrum or middle ear can cause hearing loss and deafness in a range of ways.

Hearing loss vs. deafness

It is important to distinguish between the different levels of hearing loss.

Hearing loss: This is a reduced ability to hear sounds in the same way as other people.

Deafness: This occurs when a person cannot understand speech through hearing, even when sound is amplified.

Profound deafness: This refers to a total lack of hearing. An individual with profound deafness is unable to detect sound at all.

The severity of hearing impairment is categorized by how much louder volumes need to be set at before they can detect a sound.

Some people define profoundly deaf and totally deaf in the same way, while others say that a diagnosis of profound deafness is the end of the hearing spectrum.