Hearing loss is the reduced ability to hear sound. Deafness is the complete inability to hear sound. Deafness and hearing loss have many causes and can occur at any age. People can go deaf suddenly as a complication of a virus, or lose their hearing over time because of disease, nerve damage, or injury caused by noise. About 1 in 800 babies is born deaf, often because of genetic factors. Approximately 1 out of every 10 Canadians has hearing loss, and more than half of Canadians over 65 years of age have hearing loss.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team