Hearing aids and an otoscope placed on an audiologists desk with an audiogram hearing test chart

It may seem, initially, like measuring hearing loss would be simple. If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you can most likely hear certain things clearly at a lower volume, but not others. Most letters might sound clear at high or low volumes but others, like “s” and “b” could get lost. It will become more apparent why you have inconsistencies with your hearing when you learn how to interpret your hearing test. Because merely turning up the volume isn’t enough.

How do I understand the results of my audiogram?

Hearing professionals will be able to determine the condition of your hearing by making use of this type of hearing test. It won’t look as simple as a scale from one to ten. (Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it did!)

Instead, it’s written on a graph, and that’s why many people find it confusing. But you too can interpret a hearing test if you know what you’re looking at.

Deciphering the volume portion of your hearing test

The volume in Decibels is listed on the left side of the chart (from 0 dB to about 120 dB). The higher the number, the louder the sound must be for you to hear it.

If you’re unable to hear any sound until it is about 30 dB then you have mild hearing loss which is a loss of sound between 26 and 45 dB. You’re dealing with moderate hearing loss if your hearing begins at 45-65 dB. If you begin hearing at between 66 and 85 dB then it indicates you have severe hearing loss. Profound hearing loss means that you can’t hear until the volume reaches 90 dB or more, which is louder than a lawnmower.

Reading frequency on a audiogram

Volume’s not the only thing you hear. You can also hear a range of frequencies or pitches of sound. Frequencies allow you to differentiate between types of sounds, and this includes the letters of the alphabet.

Frequencies which a human ear can hear, from 125 (lower than a bullfrog) to 8000 (higher than a cricket), are typically listed along the bottom of the graph.

This test will let us determine how well you can hear within a range of wavelengths.

So if you’re dealing with hearing loss in the higher frequencies, you might need the volume of high frequency sounds to be as loud as 60 dB (the volume of someone talking at an elevated volume). The volume that the sound must reach for you to hear specific frequencies varies and will be plotted on the chart.

Why tracking both volume and frequency is so important

So in real life, what might the results of this test mean for you? High-frequency hearing loss, which is a very common type of loss would make it more difficult to hear or comprehend:

  • Birds
  • Music
  • Whispers, even if hearing volume is good
  • “F”, “H”, “S”
  • Higher pitched voices like women and children tend to have
  • Beeps, dings, and timers

Certain particular frequencies may be harder for somebody with high frequency hearing loss to hear, even in the higher frequency range.

Inside your inner ear there are very small hair-like nerve cells that shake with sounds. You lose the ability to hear in whatever frequencies which the corresponding hair cells that detect those frequencies have become damaged and have died. If all of the cells that pick up that frequency are damaged, then you totally lose your ability to hear that frequency even at higher volumes.

This kind of hearing loss can make some communications with loved ones extremely aggravating. You may have trouble only hearing specific frequencies, but your family members may think they have to yell in order for you to hear them at all. In addition to that, those who have this type of hearing impairment find background sound overshadows louder, higher-frequency sounds like your sister talking to you in a restaurant.

We can use the hearing test to individualize hearing solutions

We will be able to custom tune a hearing aid for your particular hearing requirements once we’re able to understand which frequencies you’re not able to hear. Contemporary hearing aids have the ability to recognize exactly what frequencies enter the microphone. It can then make that frequency louder so you’re able to hear it. Or it can utilize its frequency compression feature to change the frequency to one you can better hear. They also have functions that can make processing background sound easier.

Modern hearing aids are programmed to address your particular hearing requirements instead of just turning up the volume on all frequencies, which creates a smoother hearing experience.

If you think you may be dealing with hearing loss, contact us and we can help.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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