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October 1961

Hearing Loss from the Womb to the Tomb

Arch Otolaryngol. 1961;74(4):391-398. doi:10.1001/archotol.1961.00740030400006

A discussion of the problem of hearing loss from the womb to the tomb involves covering not one, but 3 distinct areas of study: (1) hearing defects of the very young; (2) hearing defects of the young and middle-aged adult; (3) hearing defects of the very old. This system of classification describes the realm of the practicing physician and suggests a subtitle for this paper: The Natural History of Hearing Loss.

Although we may encounter hearing-impaired people everyday, we seldom are aware of the impact a hearing loss has on an individual or on his family. Other, more dramatic, or disastrous, defects have received more publicity than hearing problems. Yet, depending on the age of onset, the hearing defect may alter every aspect of a person's life. Although some types of hearing loss are reversible, many hearing disabilities tend to remain static or reflect a progressively worsening quality. Social, economic,

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