It may seem, at first, like measuring hearing loss would be easy. You can probably hear certain things clearly at lower volumes but not others. You may confuse particular letters like “S” or “B”, but hear other letters just fine at whatever volume. When you learn how to read your hearing test it becomes clearer why your hearing is “inconsistent”. It’s because there’s more to hearing than just turning up the volume.
When I get my audiogram, how do I decipher it?
Hearing professionals will be able to determine the condition of your hearing by making use of this type of hearing test. It would be terrific if it looked as basic as a scale from one to ten, but regrettably, that isn’t the case.
Many individuals find the graph format complicated at first. But if you know what you’re looking at, you too can understand the results of your audiogram.
Examining volume on an audiogram
The volume in Decibels is indexed on the left side of the chart (from 0 dB to around 120 dB). This number will specify how loud a sound needs to be for you to be capable of hearing it. Higher numbers signify that in order for you to hear it, you will require louder sound.
If you’re unable to hear any sound until it is around 30 dB then you have mild hearing loss which is a loss of sound between 26 and 45 dB. You have moderate hearing loss if your hearing starts at 45-65 dB. If you begin hearing at between 66 and 85 dB then it means you have severe hearing loss. Profound hearing loss means that you’re unable to hear until the volume reaches 90 dB or more, which is louder than a lawnmower.
The frequency portion of your audiogram
You hear other things besides volume also. You can also hear different frequencies or pitches of sound. Different types of sounds, including letters of the alphabet, are differentiated by frequency or pitch.
Along the bottom of the graph, you’ll typically see frequencies that a human ear can detect, starting from a low frequency of 125 (deeper than a bullfrog) to a high frequency of 8000 (higher than a cricket)
This test will let us define how well you can hear within a span of frequencies.
So, for instance, if you’re dealing with high-frequency hearing loss, in order for you to hear a high-frequency sound it might have to be at least 60 dB (which is around the volume of a raised, but not yelling, voice). The graph will plot the volumes that the different frequencies will need to reach before you’re able to hear them.
Is it significant to track both frequency and volume?
Now that you understand how to read your audiogram, let’s have a look at what those results might mean for you in real life. High-frequency hearing loss, which is a very common type of loss would make it more difficult to hear or understand:
- Higher pitched voices like women and children tend to have
- Beeps, dings, and timers
- “F”, “H”, “S”
- Whispers, even if hearing volume is good
While somebody who has high-frequency hearing loss has more trouble with high-frequency sounds, certain frequencies may seem easier to hear than others.
Inside of your inner ear there are tiny hair-like nerve cells that vibrate along with sounds. If the cells that pick up a certain frequency become damaged and eventually die, you will lose your ability to hear that frequency at lower volumes. You will entirely lose your ability to hear any frequencies that have lost all of the corresponding hair cells.
This kind of hearing loss can make some interactions with loved ones very aggravating. Your family members may think they have to yell at you in order to be heard even though you only have trouble hearing certain frequencies. In addition, those with this type of hearing impairment find background noise overpowers louder, higher-frequency sounds like your sister speaking to you in a restaurant.
Hearing solutions can be personalized by a hearing professional by utilizing a hearing test
We will be able to custom program a hearing aid for your specific hearing requirements once we’re able to understand which frequencies you’re having trouble hearing. Modern hearing aids have the ability to know precisely what frequencies enter the microphone. The hearing aid can be fine tuned to boost whatever frequency you’re having trouble hearing. Or it can make use of its frequency compression feature to adjust the frequency to one you can better hear. They also have functions that can make processing background sound simpler.
This delivers a smoother more normal hearing experience for the hearing aid user because instead of just making everything louder, it’s meeting your unique hearing needs.
If you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss, call us and we can help.