Deafness – What It Means

Deafness is the partial or total inability to hear. There are two main types of deafness – Conductive Deafness and Nerve Deafness

Conductive Deafness: In this type of deafness there is vibration as they pass from the outside world to the nerve cells in the inner ear, being hampered by earwax blocking the external auditory channel.

Nerve Deafness: This type of deafness is a defect of the sensory organs of the inner ear prevents transmission of sound impulse from the inner ear to the auditory centre in the brain.


The causes of deafness are numerous but these could be divided into three; those occurring before, during and after birth

(1)               Causes before birth include hereditary(genetic), developmental problems during pregnancy, drug abuse, viral infection like maternal rubella, attempted abortion and other

(2)               Cause During birth include contamination of birth passage due to severe form of some veneral disease, prolong labour, anxious at birth and others.

(3)               Causes after birth include viral infection such as meningitis, mumps and measles, overdose of dugs especially antibiotics and malaria drugs. Other causes are ear disease, accident that affect the head, Noise from factory or loud music.


The child born deaf or with a severe hearing impairment cannot acquire speech by the normal process. He must attend special classes or a school for the deaf to be taught speech or total communication, sign language and lip reading. Most of these children have remnants of the sense of hearing, which can be utilized in their schooling by the use of aids to amplify sounds. Advances in hearing technology have made it possible for a large proportion of the hearing impaired to benefit from the use of a hearing aid which amplifies sounds. The hearing impaired individual must consult with trained professionals such as audiologists, who are trained to evaluate the benefit derived from a hearing aid, in order to make a careful selection of their aid. The use of such aids reduces the handicap to the individual and facilitates his social interaction. Generally those with impaired hearing feel isolated and embarrassed by being unable to join in-group conversations and tend to withdraw into themselves. However being patient when communicating with people who are hard of hearing makes life easier for him.

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