Skip to main content

Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is a partial or total inability to hear. Hearing loss can occur in one or both ears and can be temporary or permanent. In Australia, 3.6 million people are affected by some form of hearing loss and, by 2060, it is estimated that this will increase to 7.8 million (Deloitte, 2017).

In children, hearing problems can affect the ability to learn spoken language and in adults, it can create difficulties with social interaction and at work. In some people, particularly older people, hearing loss can result in loneliness.

There are several possible causes for hearing loss in children and adults, whether it is congenital or acquired. Several other factors may also play a role in causing hearing loss, including: genetics, aging, exposure to noise, some infections, birth complications, trauma to the ear, and certain medications or toxins.

A common condition that results in hearing loss is chronic ear infections. Hearing loss is diagnosed when a person is unable to hear 25 decibels in at least one ear.

Hearing loss categories dB
Mild 25 – 40 dB
Moderate 41 – 55 dB
Severe 71 – 90 dB
Profound Greater than 90 dB

The three main types of hearing loss are:

Learn more about hearing loss