Hearing loss is the reduced ability to hear sound, while deafness is a complete inability to hear sound. Hearing loss has many causes and can occur at any age. People can lose hearing suddenly as a complication of a virus, or lose their hearing gradually over time due to disease, nerve damage, heredity or trauma caused by noise. It's a common belief that hearing-impaired people just can't hear sounds loudly enough, but it's more complicated than that. The 4 main problems caused by hearing loss are:

  • not hearing soft sounds
  • key parts of speech may not be heard which impacts the clarity
  • sounds become difficult to separate so speech becomes jumbled when in background noise
  • a reduction in the range of hearing can make loud sounds intolerable