What does hearing loss mean?

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According to WHO (World Health Organization) statistics, as of March 2021. 1.5 billion people around the world have been affected by hearing loss to varying degrees. About 430 million of them have mild hearing loss, and about 430 million have moderate or above moderate hearing loss. And as age increases, the prevalence of moderate or above hearing loss will increase from 12.7% at the age of 60 to more than 58% at the age of 90. It is estimated that by 2050, 2.5 billion people worldwide will suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss, of which at least 700 million will require rehabilitation services.

What does hearing loss mean?

Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment or hearing loss, specifically refers to the partial or complete inability to hear sounds. Hearing loss may be in one ear or both ears. It may be temporary or permanent.

The type of hearing loss depends on the part of the problem. Hearing loss can be classified as conductive, sensorial, or mixed. Conductive hearing loss refers to problems with the outer or middle part of the ear. In most cases, the inability of sound to pass through the ear structure is due to a problem with the middle or outer ear. Medication or surgery can sometimes resolve this type of hearing loss. Sensorial hearing loss refers to a problem with the cochlea (inner ear) or auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is mostly permanent and usually cannot be corrected with medication or surgery, but hearing aids may be helpful. Mixed hearing loss refers to problems with both the outer ear (or middle ear) and the inner ear.

Hearing loss may occur in only one ear, or in both ears. Monaural means hearing loss in only one ear, and binaural means hearing loss in both ears.

What are the causes of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including: genetics, aging, exposure to noise, certain infections, birth complications, ear trauma, and certain medications or toxins. A common condition that causes hearing loss is chronic ear infections. Certain infections during pregnancy, such as syphilis and rubella, can also cause hearing loss in children. Hearing loss can be classified as mild, moderate, moderate-severe, severe or profound. You can refer to: Criteria for Judging the Degree of Hearing Loss. In addition to going to the hospital, you can also use the Lingtong Hearing Aid APP to do a self-service hearing test to understand the degree of hearing loss.

Hearing loss has various impacts

1. The range of audible sounds is reduced
Hearing loss is different from vision loss. The test result is a curve that contains the hearing performance of each frequency of sound. People with sensorineural hearing loss cannot hear smaller sounds, but the loudness of the sounds they feel is different from that of ordinary people. When the sounds get slightly louder, they feel much louder, resulting in "cannot hear soft sounds, but feel noisy when loud". Therefore, the volume they feel comfortable with is different from that of normal people, and the range of acceptable sounds is relatively smaller

2. It is difficult to communicate in a noisy environment
When in a noisy environment, loud and soft sounds The same sound occurs in a short period of time, and it is more difficult for them to detect small sounds than normal people, so it is often difficult to communicate in this environment

3. Reduced sound clarity
People with hearing loss It is difficult to hear high-frequency sounds, especially consonants such as th, s, etc., so it is difficult to understand the content of the conversation under normal communication sounds, especially when talking to strangers

4. Decreased speech recognition ability
If long-term hearing loss does not receive timely intervention, understanding ability will be greatly reduced, resulting in a decline in speech recognition ability. Elderly patients with hearing loss will increase the risk of falls and Alzheimer's disease.

Hearing loss may be more than just one of the above conditions. For example, their hearing loss may be described as mild to moderate or moderate to profound hearing loss. The table on the next page shows how different levels of hearing loss affect your learning to speak. Remember, even the same hearing loss can affect different people differently.