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Hearing Impairment

A Hearing Impairment means that one or more parts of ear are damaged or not working properly.

A person is usually referred to as deaf  if their loss is 90 decibels or greater and cannot use hearing to process speech or language (even with hearing devices).

A person is referred to as hard of hearing when their loss is less severe. There are several types of hearing loss.


  • Conductive hearing loss: due to middle or outer ear problem; fluctuating hearing loss; loss by air conduction but bone conduction is normal; problem with loudness of sound. Not usually severe.

  • Sensorineural Hearing loss: due to abnormality or disease of the inner ear or cochlear portion of the auditory nerve; loss by air and bone conduction; problem with perception of sound.

  • Mixed Hearing loss: Loss by both air and bone conduction, but loss by air is greater than bone.

    If not congenital, often caused by frequent upper respiratory infections and ear infections

    May require surgical insertion of pressure equalizing tubes (PE Tubes) in order to drain infectious fluid from the ear

    Characteristics to look for:

    • May need to look at speaker in order to understand

    • Requires frequent repetition in order to follow directions.

    • Does not respond to speaker if not in sight

    • None responsive to doorbell or telephone ringing

*For more information on hearing loss, visit