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Hearing loss

Hypoacusis is defined as the functional deficit that occurs when hearing is lost to a lesser or greater degree. It occurs when there is an interruption in the physiological process of hearing. The term deafness is reserved for profound and permanent bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be classified according to various criteria. These include the intensity or degree of hearing loss, the etiology, the location of the lesion responsible for the hearing loss and the time of onset of hearing loss, both chronologically and in relation to the period of language acquisition.

Depending on the intensity of the hearing loss, hearing loss is classified according to the mean audiometric values expressed in dB, compared to normal hearing levels:

Normal hearing

Mean tonal loss less than 20 dB.

Mild hearing loss

Mean tonal loss between 21 and 40 dB. Speech of normal intensity is perceived. Difficulty hearing the low or distant voice.

Moderate hearing loss

  • First degree: mean tonal loss between 41 and 55 dB.
  • Second degree: mean tonal loss between 56 and 70 dB.

Speech is perceived if the voice is raised. The subject understands speech better if he/she can see the speaker. Can perceive environmental sounds.

Severe hearing loss

  • First degree: mean tonal loss between 71 and 80 dB.
  • Second degree: mean tonal loss between 81 and 90 dB.

Speech is perceived if the voice is raised next to the ear. Can perceive environmental sounds of high intensity.

Profound hearing loss

  • First degree: mean tonal loss between 91 and 100 dB.
  • Second degree: mean tonal loss between 101 and 110 dB.
  • Third degree: mean tonal loss between 111 and 119 dB.

Speech is not perceived if the voice is loud. Can perceive environmental sounds of very high intensity.

Cophthalmos or total loss

Mean tonal loss greater than 120 dB. Absence of auditory perception.