When describing hearing loss, what is important is type of hearing loss, degree of hearing loss, and configuration of hearing loss. With children, it is especially important to diagnose and treat a hearing loss as early as possible. This limits its potential impact on learning and development.
Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is damaged. There are three basic types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss. The degree of loss can range from slight to profound. The configuration, or shape, of the hearing loss generally refers to the pattern of hearing loss across frequencies (tones), as illustrated in a graph called an audiogram (ie: low frequency, high frequency, flat). Hearing losses can be in one ear or both, can be progressive, sudden, fluctuating, or stable. Some hearing losses are permanent and some can be medically treatable. It is important to contact a physician and/or audiologist if you suspect that your child is having ear or hearing problems.