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Hearing Impairment

Hearing loss does not affect a person’s ability to learn intellectually, but children who have a hearing impairment or are deaf need some form of special education in order to receive an appropriate education.

What is It?

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Hearing Impairment occurs when a child loses their ability to hear intensity (loudness), or frequency (pitch). It can be described as slight, mild, moderate, severe, or profound depending on how well a person can hear the frequency or intensity. It can occur in one or both ears, and in one or both areas. Children are considered deaf if their hearing loss is greater than 90 decibels. There are 4 types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss: caused by diseases or obstructions in the outer or middle ear. People with this type of hearing loss are usually able to use a hearing aid well or can be helped medically.
  • Sensori-neural hearing loss: caused by damage to the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, or the nerves that supply it. It affects a person’s ability to hear frequency, so a hearing aid isn’t as effective. This hearing loss can range from mild to profound.
  • Mixed hearing loss: Is a combination of conductive and sensori-neural loss.
  • Central hearing loss: is caused by damage or impairment of the nerves of the central nervous system in the brain, or in the pathways to the brain.
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In the United States, more than 12,000 babies are born with hearing loss with an unknown cause. Profound deafness occurs in 4-11 per 10,000 children, and half of those are from genetics.

How to Identify and Respond

Signs of hearing loss include:

  • They don’t respond consistently to their name or other sounds
  • Is delayed in developing speech, or speech is unclear
  • Turns the volume up loud
  • Often asks for things to be repeated, or says “huh?” frequently

How to Prevent

Acquired hearing loss can be prevented by minimizing often exposure to loud noises, and going to the doctor for ear infections and childhood diseases.

References and Websites

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