- Hearing Impairment
Hearing involves several skills beyond detecting and discriminating between sounds . Auditory attention refers to the ability to focus on a single sound source to the exclusion of other competing sounds in the environment. Oral comprehension is the ability to understand spoken language. These abilities can be compromised by either a sensory (i.e., between the ear and the brain) or cognitive (within the brain) impairment. A conductive hearing loss is caused by damage or blockage of the moving parts in the outer or middle ear. A conductive hearing loss typically interferes with the ability to hear low-volume sounds [1, 2]. A sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory (eighth) cranial nerve [1, 2]. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, a sensorineural hearing loss can prevent all auditory information from reaching the brain or a subset of auditory information within a specific frequency range [1, 2]. One of the most common forms of hearing impairment, particularly in older adults, is presbycusis. Presbycusis is a sensorineural impairment affecting the sound receptors in the cochlea that respond to high-pitched sounds .