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Hearing (or auditory) disabilities are usually defined by a decreased ability or total inability to hear (deafness).
Individuals who are hard of hearing, or don’t hear well, and individuals who are unable to hear, or are deaf, would typically be considered to have a hearing disability. Hearing impairment or loss can be congenital, can happen over time, can occur later in life, can be the result of injury or aging, can be in one ear or both, can be temporary or permanent, or can be caused by any number of factors.
There are typically considered to be four types of hearing loss:
Hearing loss can be mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound, according to Hearing Health Foundation: Degrees of Hearing Loss.
Statistics and measurements on disability always vary according to the definitions and reporting methods used. In general, the prevalence of hearing disability increases with age.
Key metrics on hearing disability:
People who are deaf or hard of hearing use a number of technologies and devices to communicate and be alerted to information. To learn more about some of these, read an [Introduction to Assistive Technology and Accommodations for Individuals with Hearing Disabilities].