What Is It?
A child with hearing loss has trouble hearing sounds in the range of normal speech. Hearing loss can be present at birth or can develop later in life. Babies born with other serious medical problems are at higher risk for hearing loss. Most deaf children are born to hearing parents. But the condition can be inherited.
Hearing loss often is not detected until a child is 2, 3 or even 4 years old. The critical period for language development is from birth to age 3. The failure to identify and treat hearing loss by 6 months of age can have serious implications for a child's speech.
There are two major categories of hearing loss:
Hearing loss is measured by the volume of sounds that can be heard without amplification. It is classified as borderline or slight, mild, moderate, severe or profound.
The term "deaf" generally applies to a person whose hearing loss is so extensive that he or she cannot communicate with another person using only voice.
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