Ears are extremely well-designed auditory sense organ. The mechanism of hearing is well understood, but interpretation of sounds in the brain is still a matter of dispute among researchers. Ears convert the vibrations from the sound into nerve impulses and are perceived by the temporal lobe of brain. In addition to hearing, they serve to keep the balance of the body.

Some people have trouble in hearing and others cannot hear at all. The inability to hear, called deafness can result from an illness or the hearing loss can occur at early age by listening to very loud sound. A hearing aide can assist the hearing impaired person. But, people with complete hearing impairment have to depend on other senses to understand the outer world and to communicate with others. Hearing loss can affect a child's ability to develop communication, language, and social skills.

The degree of hearing loss can range from mild to profound deafness.
  • Mild hearing loss: People with mild hearing loss show trouble in keeping up with conversations, particularly in noisy environment.
  • Moderate hearing loss: People show difficulties in following conversations when they are not using a hearing aid.
  • Severe hearing loss: People depend on powerful hearing aid to overcome the severe hearing loss. They often use lip-reading even when they are using hearing aids.
  • Profound hearing loss: People who suffer from profound hearing loss mostly rely on lip-reading and sign language.

Hearing loss can be classified in different terms:
  • Unilateral or Bilateral: Depends on whether the hearing loss is in one ear or both ears.
  • Pre-lingual or Post-lingual: This classification is based on whether the hearing loss happened before a person learned to talk (pre-lingual) or after (post-lingual).
  • Symmetrical or Asymmetrical: If the hearing loss is the same in both ears it is called symmetrical and if it is different in each ear it is known as asymmetrical.
  • Progressive or Sudden: Progressive hearing loss worsens over time where as sudden hearing loss happens quickly.
  • Fluctuating or Stable: In fluctuating hearing loss hearing loss gets either better or worse over time where as it stays the same over time in stable hearing loss.
  • Congenital or Acquired/Delayed Onset: Congenital form of deafness is present at birth and acquired or delayed onset occurs later in life.
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