deafness, partial or total lack of hearing. It may be present at birth (congenital) or may be acquired at any age thereafter. A person who cannot detect sound at an amplitude of 20 decibels in a frequency range of from 800 to 1,800 vibrations per second is said to be hard of hearing. The ear normally perceives sounds in the range of 20 to 20,000 vibrations per second. There are two principal kinds of deafness, conductive deafness and sensorineural deafness. In some cases of deafness both the conductive and the nerve mechanisms are disturbed.
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