The majority of people with diagnosed deafness have actually acquired it later in life. The age of onset is important, as deafness acquired in childhood or adolescence impacts differently on the person to deafness that is acquired as an adult after the completion of compulsory education.
As well, those who have a moderate deafness – even from early life – often have very different learning needs to those who have had severe to profound deafness from early life.
The degree of deafness is measured by testing both loudness (decibels) and pitch (frequency) and plotting responses onto a graph called an audiogram.
A mild hearing loss occurs between 26-40 decibels; a moderate hearing loss between 41-55 decibels and moderately severe deafness is between 56-70 decibels.
Whilst these levels of deafness are not as significant of severe and profound deafness, it is important to realise that they do still impact on the person’s capacity to hear English speech and can – especially in group settings – present barriers to communication.
However, it is usually not the case that people with this level of deafness experience literacy difficulties as a result of their deafness.