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Hearing Impaired Definition This special needs area is characterized by the loss of hearing and is known by several names such as deafness, hard of hearing, anacusis, hearing impairment, and hearing loss. Hearing loss is measured in terms of decibels that can be processed through the outer ear, into the inner ear, and then to the sound processing areas of the brain. Those with hearing loss are determined to have mild, mild-moderate, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound hearing impairment. Global hearing loss statistics indicate this phenomenon impacts 10% of the world’s population. Of this 10%, most of them developed the loss during childhood. Causes Loud noises cause hearing impairment. This issue is so important that governments across the world have created laws controlling the decibel levels of noise within cities and other places where people congregate. The goal of this limit setting is to decrease the number of those who may experience not only hearing loss, but sleep disturbances, stress related problems and learning disorders. Ageing can cause hearing loss. The rate and intensity of the hearing loss may be determined by genetic influences along with environmental conditions. An inclination toward hearing loss can be inherited. Syndromic deafness occurs when there are other medical problems in addition to the deafness. Nonsyndromic deafness occurs when there are no other medical issues presenting with the deafness. Other causes of hearing impairment include Onset of measles which can cause auditory nerve damage Meningitis can damage the auditory nerve or cochlea An autoimmune disease may damage the cochlea Mumps Presbycusis is a hearing impairment that comes with age Adenoids that continue to grow and block the Eustachian tube HIV/AIDS Chlamydia Fetal alcohol syndrome Premature birth Syphilis Otosclerosis Brain tumors Multiple Schlerosis Strokes Lead Heavy metals Solvents Pesticides/Herbicides Profound trauma due to accidents Diagnosis and Classification An audiologist can determine the depth of hearing loss in a person using an audiometric hearing test in a sound proof booth. Hearing loss is ranked in order of severity as mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, profound, and totally deaf. In terms of classification, hearing impairment is measured by type, severity, age of onset and whether it is present in one ear or two. Prevention According to research, 50% of hearing impairment patients may have prevented the loss of hearing in their lives. Immunizations are offered as a solution to prevent the diseases that may cause hearing loss and avoiding excessive noise exposure is important. Hearing aids are used to enhance hearing and reduce the impact of hearing loss. Cochlear implants are used to improve hearing, but are expensive and require multiple levels of programming to remain effective.