By | June 10, 2022

When one speaks of deafness or deafness, one is usually talking about an extreme form of hearing loss or the complete loss of hearing or the sense of hearing. Those affected hear nothing or only very little. Sometimes sounds can also be heard, but the language or meaning of the sounds remains hidden to the deaf. Deafness can be alleviated with the help of hearing aids or by learning sign language. Unfortunately, medical research has not yet completely cured deafness (deafness).

What is deafness?

In Germany, about 0.1 percent (80,000 people) of the population are deaf. Deafness (hearinglessness) occurs when noises and tones are not perceived or are only perceived to a very limited extent. The sounds penetrate the ear, but the hearing organ cannot process them or pass them on. Deafness, on the other hand, is a reduced ability to hear. For what is quincke’s edema, please visit

Hearing loss and deafness (deafness) can affect one or both ears. In medicine, a distinction is made between absolute and practical deafness (deafness). In the first form, those affected basically hear no sound. If, on the other hand, there is practical deafness, the patients can still perceive individual noises, but can no longer understand the language. Furthermore, deafness is divided into congenital and acquired deafness. With regard to acquired deafness, doctors again distinguish between the prelingual and the postlingual form. In the latter, deafness (deafness) occurs after language development has taken place.

Because deaf people cannot hear sounds, they are unable to respond appropriately. This makes communication with the speaking and listening environment considerably more difficult. In addition, hearing is a prerequisite for language acquisition. Speech and language disorders very often occur in deaf people and usually impair professional life and social contacts.


Deafness (deafness) can be caused by congenital or acquired impairments. Congenital hearing damage is usually hereditary or caused by certain influences during pregnancy. The most common triggering factors of acquired deafness (deafness) include ear infections caused by Lyme disease, meningitis and otitis media, and mumps. Bleeding or injuries in the inner ear can also lead to severe hearing impairment. In addition, traumatic brain injury can cause deafness (deafness).

Inherited deafness (deafness) is relatively rare. About five percent of the deaf are children of deaf parents who are also deaf. However, congenital deafness (deafness) can be caused by damage to the unborn child in the womb. This is the case, for example, with infections such as rubella and with alcohol, drug and nicotine consumption during pregnancy. Finally, a lack of oxygen or trauma during birth can also be responsible for hearing loss or deafness (deafness).

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Deafness can occur at any age. Some people have it at birth, while others lose their sense of hearing later in life. Numbness can be unilateral or bilateral. Complaints are particularly evident in the communicative and social areas.

The bilateral deafness excludes the perception of ambient noise. Those affected do not react as expected, which makes it difficult to live in their environment. It is difficult to establish social contacts, professional opportunities are limited. If bilateral deafness has existed since birth, language development is usually also impaired. Those affected cannot hear themselves and can therefore only form syllables insufficiently.

In addition, complete deafness is often associated with dizzy spells. Some patients also complain of malformations of the eyes, kidneys and bones. On the other hand, one-sided deafness leads to a comparatively slight hearing impairment. In this case, only the left or right ear is unable to hear sounds.

Those affected can only adequately hide background noise during a conversation. They also find it difficult to understand conversations that are heard close to the deaf ear. Distances, such as to a moving car, are difficult to estimate with one-sided deafness.


Deafness can, in rare cases and in many different ways, lead to complications. In the case of acquired deafness in particular – as with all acquired sensory losses – those affected can experience depression because the new situation makes them feel helpless, angry or sad. The same applies to difficulties in communicating with people who do not have any knowledge of sign language.

In addition, the risk of accidents is often increased for deaf people. This applies in particular to busy roads and similar situations. Accordingly, precautionary measures are more relevant in everyday life. An inserted cochlear implant can lead to undesirable side effects during insertion or beyond. The operation carries a low risk of damaging the auditory nerve (and thus the taste bud in the broadest sense), can leave wounds that become inflamed, can lead to meningitis or can cause permanent tinnitus for those affected.

Operations to correct causal tissue damage also carry the usual risks of complications. This can involve operations on the auditory ossicles or the auditory canal. Otherwise, other complications depend on possible underlying diseases (delayed middle ear infection) and must be considered individually.

When should you go to the doctor?

If parents, relatives or guardians notice that the offspring does not react at all or only reacts with a delay to noises in the environment, a doctor should be consulted immediately. It is particularly worrying if the development of loud noises has no effect on the person concerned. Behavioral problems, physical reactions of the child only to visual contact and unusual vocalizations must be examined and treated. These are signs of an existing health impairment that should be clarified. If there is a reduction in the normal hearing ability over the course of life, this is also a sign of an irregularity that must be examined as soon as possible.

A decrease in hearing is to be understood as a warning signal from the organism. A doctor is needed to clarify the cause and to counteract long-term disorders in good time. If familiar noises in the environment can suddenly and unexpectedly no longer be perceived, a doctor’s visit is necessary. Prompt investigation should be made so that a diagnosis can be made, and then a treatment plan can be devised. If there are further complaints and irregularities in an already diagnosed deafness, there is also a need for action. In the case of emotional and psychological problems, in many cases the person concerned needs help in order to be able to deal better with the illness in everyday life.

Treatment & Therapy

Without appropriate therapy, deafness (deafness) will not improve. Early diagnosis and treatment have a positive effect on language development, especially in the case of the congenital form or severe hearing loss. For children, the focus is on early support in the form of speech and language education and attending special schools for the deaf.

The aim of therapy is basically to improve the patient’s everyday skills. Specially adapted hearing aids are used if there is still residual hearing. In the case of severe hearing loss or complete deafness (deafness), the hearing function can be replaced by a cochlear implant.

If therapy is not possible with either hearing aids or surgical measures, the patient must learn to live with the diagnosis of deafness (deafness). Here other ways of communication such as lip reading or sign language are learned.


In principle, hereditary deafness and deafness cannot be prevented. However, some of the triggering factors can be avoided by appropriate prevention. In addition, pregnant women can take various measures to protect the child’s hearing from harmful influences. Risk factors such as viral infections can be eliminated by vaccination.

Another important aspect of prevention is avoiding exposure to excessive noise. Hearing protection can help with this. Certain medications, alcohol and nicotine should be avoided, especially during pregnancy. Finally, it is recommended to consult a doctor immediately in the event of ear infections and hearing disorders in order to prevent deafness (deafness).


The form of follow-up care for deafness depends on how and when the person concerned lost their hearing. A distinction is made between congenital and acquired deafness. In the first case, the patient is born without hearing ability and grows up with the disability. Aftercare is a constant accompaniment here, usually well into adulthood.

In the second course, the affected person becomes deaf as a result of an accident, a faulty operation on the ear or other external influences. Follow-up care is particularly important here. The deaf person has to learn from the ground up how to deal with the loss of their senses. This can put a mental strain on both you and your loved ones.

Similar to congenital deafness, the follow-up care in the case of acquired deafness becomes a permanent companion: the person concerned will have questions about how to deal with the deafness on a daily basis, especially at the beginning. A specialist doctor or a special counseling center can provide professional support here.

Parallel visits to self-help groups offer the opportunity to exchange ideas with other deaf people. If there is additional emotional stress, a psychotherapist should be consulted. This stabilizes the mental well-being of the person concerned. In this way, depression can be prevented.

You can do that yourself

Deafness is a massive form of hearing impairment, which can often be managed much better by those affected with self-help in everyday life. The measures depend on the patient and their needs or requirements.

Self-help is best discussed with the attending ENT doctor or an experienced hearing aid acoustician. Going to a self-help group for people with hearing impairments or deafness can also be very useful in many cases. The exchange with those affected in relation to their experiences with a lack of hearing and the tips of the other participants are often valuable for the practical and psychological management of the disease. Those affected are often understood better here than by their own relatives.

In everyday life, self-help around hearing impairment can be very practical. This starts with the videophone with sign language and continues with the sunrise alarm clock to informing family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. They must know that the person concerned must not be addressed from behind and that communication should be articulated clearly so that lips can be read. The psychological impairment caused by a hearing impairment must not be neglected when it comes to self-help. When coping, it is particularly important to stabilize social contacts.