2022 ICD-10-CM Code H91.9

Unspecified hearing loss

Version 2021

Not Valid for Submission

ICD-10:H91.9
Short Description:Unspecified hearing loss
Long Description:Unspecified hearing loss

Code Classification

  • Diseases of the ear and mastoid process (H60–H95)
    • Other disorders of ear (H90-H94)
      • Other and unspecified hearing loss (H91)

H91.9 is a non-specific and non-billable diagnosis code code, consider using a code with a higher level of specificity for a diagnosis of unspecified hearing loss. The code is not specific and is NOT valid for the year 2022 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions. Category or Header define the heading of a category of codes that may be further subdivided by the use of 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th characters.

Unspecified diagnosis codes like H91.9 are acceptable when clinical information is unknown or not available about a particular condition. Although a more specific code is preferable, unspecified codes should be used when such codes most accurately reflect what is known about a patient's condition. Specific diagnosis codes should not be used if not supported by the patient's medical record.

Specific Coding for Unspecified hearing loss

Non-specific codes like H91.9 require more digits to indicate the appropriate level of specificity. Consider using any of the following ICD-10 codes with a higher level of specificity when coding for unspecified hearing loss:

  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H91.90 for Unspecified hearing loss, unspecified ear
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H91.91 for Unspecified hearing loss, right ear
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H91.92 for Unspecified hearing loss, left ear
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H91.93 for Unspecified hearing loss, bilateral

Tabular List of Diseases and Injuries

The Tabular List of Diseases and Injuries is a list of ICD-10 codes, organized "head to toe" into chapters and sections with coding notes and guidance for inclusions, exclusions, descriptions and more. The following references are applicable to the code H91.9:


Inclusion Terms

Inclusion Terms
These terms are the conditions for which that code is to be used. The terms may be synonyms of the code title, or, in the case of "other specified" codes, the terms are a list of the various conditions assigned to that code. The inclusion terms are not necessarily exhaustive. Additional terms found only in the Alphabetic Index may also be assigned to a code.

Index to Diseases and Injuries

The Index to Diseases and Injuries is an alphabetical listing of medical terms, with each term mapped to one or more ICD-10 code(s). The following references for the code H91.9 are found in the index:

Clinical Information

Information for Patients


Hearing Disorders and Deafness

It's frustrating to be unable to hear well enough to enjoy talking with friends or family. Hearing disorders make it hard, but not impossible, to hear. They can often be helped. Deafness can keep you from hearing sound at all.

What causes hearing loss? Some possibilities are

There are two main types of hearing loss. One happens when your inner ear or auditory nerve is damaged. This type is usually permanent. The other kind happens when sound waves cannot reach your inner ear. Earwax buildup, fluid, or a punctured eardrum can cause it. Treatment or surgery can often reverse this kind of hearing loss.

Untreated, hearing problems can get worse. If you have trouble hearing, you can get help. Possible treatments include hearing aids, cochlear implants, special training, certain medicines, and surgery.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders


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Nonsyndromic hearing loss

Nonsyndromic hearing loss is a partial or total loss of hearing that is not associated with other signs and symptoms. In contrast, syndromic hearing loss occurs with signs and symptoms affecting other parts of the body.

Nonsyndromic hearing loss can be classified in several different ways. One common way is by the condition's pattern of inheritance: autosomal dominant (DFNA), autosomal recessive (DFNB), X-linked (DFNX), or mitochondrial (which does not have a special designation). Each of these types of hearing loss includes multiple subtypes. DFNA, DFNB, and DFNX subtypes are numbered in the order in which they were first described. For example, DFNA1 was the first type of autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss to be identified.

The characteristics of nonsyndromic hearing loss vary among the different types. Hearing loss can affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). Degrees of hearing loss range from mild (difficulty understanding soft speech) to profound (inability to hear even very loud noises). The term "deafness" is often used to describe severe-to-profound hearing loss. Hearing loss can be stable, or it may be progressive, becoming more severe as a person gets older. Particular types of nonsyndromic hearing loss show distinctive patterns of hearing loss. For example, the loss may be more pronounced at high, middle, or low tones.

Most forms of nonsyndromic hearing loss are described as sensorineural, which means they are associated with a permanent loss of hearing caused by damage to structures in the inner ear. The inner ear processes sound and sends the information to the brain in the form of electrical nerve impulses. Less commonly, nonsyndromic hearing loss is described as conductive, meaning it results from changes in the middle ear. The middle ear contains three tiny bones that help transfer sound from the eardrum to the inner ear. Some forms of nonsyndromic hearing loss, particularly a type called DFNX2, involve changes in both the inner ear and the middle ear. This combination is called mixed hearing loss.

Depending on the type, nonsyndromic hearing loss can become apparent at any time from infancy to old age. Hearing loss that is present before a child learns to speak is classified as prelingual or congenital. Hearing loss that occurs after the development of speech is classified as postlingual.


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Code History

  • FY 2021 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2020 through 9/30/2021
  • FY 2020 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2019 through 9/30/2020
  • FY 2019 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2018 through 9/30/2019
  • FY 2018 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018
  • FY 2017 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2016 through 9/30/2017
  • FY 2016 - New Code, effective from 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016 (First year ICD-10-CM implemented into the HIPAA code set)