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HEARING IMPAIRMENT

NATURE

Inability to hear as well as someone with normal hearing. Hearing impaired people can be hard of
hearing (HOH) or deaf. If a person cannot hear at all, then they have deafness.
A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing hearing thresholds of 25
dB or better in both ears is said to have hearing loss.
Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and
leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.
Hard of hearing refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They usually
communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, cochlear implants and
other assistive devices as well as captioning. People with more significant hearing losses may
benefit from cochlear implants.
Deaf people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. They often
use sign language for communication.

CAUSE

Congenital causes

Congenital causes may lead to hearing loss being present at or acquired soon after birth. maternal rubella,
syphilis or certain other infections during pregnancy;

Acquired causes

Acquired causes may lead to hearing loss at any age, such as infectious diseases such as meningitis,
measles and mumps; chronic ear infections; use of particular drugs, such as some antibiotic and
antimalarial medicines; excessive noise and aging, in particular due to degeneration of sensory cells;

PREVALENCE
Over 5% of the worlds population 360 million people has disabling hearing loss (328 million
adults and 32 million children). Disabling hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 40 decibels (dB)
in the better hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30 dB in the better hearing ear in
children. The majority of people with disabling hearing loss live in low- and middle-income countries.
Approximately one-third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss. The
prevalence in this age group is greatest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.

CHARACTERISTICS

Speech Delays - Delays in the development of speech and language are classic symptoms of
hearing loss and deafness in children. Children who do not say single words by age 1 or two-word
phrases by age 2 might suffer from hearing loss.

Communication Difficulties - Children with mild to moderate hearing impairment may develop
speech and language at roughly the same time as their peers. However, they might still struggle to
communicate and speak normally.

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Selective Hearing - Although it is relatively normal for children to "tune out" some statements or
commands from adults in authority, many children who seem to ignore their parents are unable to
hear them. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children with hearing loss might be
able to hear certain sounds and pitches. Hearing-impaired children are often unable to hear their
names when called, and their behavior can be mistakenly labeled as inattention or behavioral
misconduct.

Behavioral Characteristics - Deaf and hearing-impaired children can develop a variety of


behavioral symptoms. Many children will turn up TVs or radios to an inappropriate volume in an
attempt to compensate for their sensory challenges. Children struggling with deafness may also
closely watch their peers to emulate behavior and body language -- a symptom known as

Differential Diagnosis - Some children who appear to have the characteristics of hearing loss
might suffer from unrelated disorders. Behavioral and emotional disturbances can cause speech
delays and social difficulties, which might be mistaken for challenges with hearing or sensory
processing. Autism also manifests with many symptoms similar to hearing loss.

FAMOUS PEOPLE

Ludwig Van Beethoven - Beethoven started to lose his hearing around the age of 26 while also
experiencing severe tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

Helen Keller - When she was nearly two years old, Helen Keller contracted an illness that left her
with complete blindness and hearing loss.

Thomas Edison - The cause of Edison's deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever
during childhood and recurring untreated middle ear infections

Halle Berry - A victim of domestic violence some 20 years ago, Oscar winner Halle Berry lost 80
percent of her hearing in her left ear when an abusive boyfriend struck her repeatedly.

Jane Lynch - Lynch didnt realize she was deaf in her right ear probably from a high fever when
she was a baby until she was 7 years old.

SOURCES
10 Facts on Deafness." World Health Organization, n.d. Web. Retrieved from
http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/deafness/facts/en/index9.html.
Russo, J. (2013, August 16.) Characteristics of Hearing Impairment and deafness in children Retrieved
from http://www.livestrong.com/article/509643-characteristics-of-hearing-impairment-and-deafness-inchildren/
Speech Language Development with hearing loss. Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center., Retrieved from
http://www.chsc.org/Main/Speech-Language-Development-with-Hearing-Loss.aspx
What is Language, What is speech? American Speech Language Hearing Association., Retrieved from
http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/language_speech/

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