Popelka, Gerald R. Head of Audiology, Research Laboratories, Central Institute for the Deaf, St. Louis, Missouri.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Conductive abnormalities
- Sensorineural abnormalities
- Central nervous system abnormalities
- Nature of hearing impairment
- Treatment and management
- Cochlear implants
- Hearing aids
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Any alteration of hearing capacity. Hearing comprises the general perceptual behavior and the specific responses that are made in relation to sound stimuli. Any deterioration or defect concerning the ability to hear (Fig. 1) is termed hearing impairment or hearing loss. Hearing impairment can be of various degrees, including mild, moderate, severe, profound, or total. Typically, the degree of impairment is categorized by the loss of hearing sensitivity, that is, how loud sounds must be for a listener to hear them. The degree of impairment can refer either to the loss of hearing sensitivity for individual pitches of sounds for each ear separately or to an overall loss of hearing sensitivity for both ears. Hearing impairment is further categorized as unilateral if present in only one ear and as bilateral if present in both ears. See also: Ear (vertebrate); Hearing (human); Loudness; Pitch; Sound
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