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The Layman’s Guide to Hearing Loss

Posted on November 12, 2019 by All In

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Hearing loss is defined as being partially or completely unable to hear sounds in one or both ears. It is also a poorly or commonly misunderstood condition.

Learn more about deafness in this article – the types and degrees and causes of hearing loss.

Did you know?

In Singapore, every baby receives a hearing test at birth. The hearing test is known as universal newborn hearing screening.

Statistically, about 0.01% (or 1 of every 1,000) babies born in Singapore have severe or profound hearing loss, and about 0.05 (or 5 of every 1,000) have lesser degrees of hearing loss. (Source)

Find out more about Universal Newborn Hearing Screening here.

Types of Hearing Loss


Conductive hearing loss refers to cases where sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the middle ear.


Sensorineural hearing loss happens when there is damage to the inner ear (called the cochlea), or to the nerves from the inner ear to the brain.


Some people have mixed hearing loss, which means they have both conductive and sensorineural loss in the same ear(s).

Did you know?

Singapore is the second fastest ageing nation in Asia after Japan. Persons over 65 years old will increase from 7% of the total resident population in 1999 to 18% in 2030. Age-related hearing loss is becoming very common and about 50% of those 80 years and above are expected to have significant hearing loss.

Levels of hearing loss

Every Deaf and hard-of-hearing person’s degree of hearing loss is unique. Here are the general board bands of hearing loss and the extent to which sounds can be heard by those classified as such.

Mild hearing loss

  • Unable to hear soft sounds
  • Understanding speech may be difficult in a noisy environment

Moderate hearing loss

  • Unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds
  • Understanding speech may be difficult in a noisy environment

Severe hearing loss

  • Unable to hear people speaking at a normal conversational level
  • Even loud speech is difficult to hear or understand

Profound hearing loss

  • Only able to hear very loud sounds
  • Most sounds are difficult to hear or distinguish

Causes of hearing loss

There are many causes of hearing loss. Some are genetic. Others are due to external factors such as accidents or prolonged exposure to loud noises. Hearing loss can affect people of all ages.

Download a brochure on understanding deafness for more information.



SADeaf is an All In Preferred Partner.

Established in 1955, the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) has been serving the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing community for the past six decades. SADeaf is a member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), and is supported by Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Ministry of Education (MOE).

The association is also affiliated, internationally, to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and, locally, to the Children Charities’ Association (CCA).

This article was originally published by SADeaf and republished with permission and minor editorial amendments by All In.

All content found on the All In website, has been created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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