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Why does the severe to profound hearing loss definition start at 61 dB hearing loss?
The severe to profound hearing loss is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as average hearing thresholds equal to or greater than 61 dB hearing loss in the better ear.
Why 61? For sensorineural hearing, the maximum hearing loss resulting from damage to the outer rows of cochlear hair cells is around 60 dB (Moore 2016). If the sensorineural hearing thresholds are greater than 60 dB hearing loss then a loss of inner hair cells is also very likely. This results in a large variability in speech recognition skills in quiet and in noise and the likely benefit of amplification will range from good to poor.
What are three key characteristics of severe to profound hearing loss?
Three key characteristics are:
- Loss of auditory resolution ability
- Loss of high frequency hearing
- Loss of signal-to-noise ratio