It might seem, at first, 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. You may confuse particular letters like “S” or “B”, but hear other letters perfectly fine at whatever volume. It will become more evident why you have inconsistencies with your hearing when you figure out how to interpret your hearing test. That’s because there’s more to hearing than just cranking up the volume.
When I get my audiogram, how do I interpret it?
An audiogram is a type of hearing test that hearing professionals use to ascertain how you hear. It would be wonderful if it looked as simple as a scale from one to ten, but unfortunately, that’s not the situation.
Many individuals find the graph format confusing at first. But if you are aware of what you’re looking at, you too can interpret the results of your audiogram.
Looking at volume on an audiogram
The volume in Decibels is outlined on the left side of the chart (from 0 dB to about 120 dB). The higher the number, the louder the sound needs to be for you to hear it.
A loss of volume between 26 dB and 45 dB signifies mild hearing loss. If hearing starts at 45-65 dB then you have moderate hearing loss. If you start hearing at between 66 and 85 dB then it means you’re dealing with severe hearing loss. Profound hearing loss means that you can’t hear until the volume gets up to 90 dB or more, which is louder than a lawnmower.
The frequency section of your audiogram
You hear other things besides volume also. You hear sound at different frequencies, commonly known as pitches in music. Different types of sounds, including letters of the alphabet, are distinguished by frequency or pitch.
On the lower section of the graph, you’ll usually find frequencies that a human ear can hear, going from a low frequency of 125 (lower than a bullfrog) to a high frequency of 8000 (higher than a cricket)
This test will allow us to 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 about the volume of an elevated, but not yelling, voice). The chart will plot the volumes that the various frequencies will have to reach before you can hear them.
Why tracking both volume and frequency is so significant
So in the real world, what might the results of this test mean for you? High-frequency hearing loss, which is a quite common form of loss would make it harder to hear or understand:
- Women and children who tend to have higher-pitched voices
- “F”, “H”, “S”
- Beeps, dings, and timers
- Whispers, even if hearing volume is good
Some particular frequencies may be more challenging for a person with high frequency hearing loss to hear, even within the higher frequency range.
Within the inner ear tiny stereocilia (hair-like cells) move in response to sound waves. You lose the ability to hear in whatever frequencies which the corresponding hair cells that pick up those frequencies have become damaged and have died. You will totally lose your ability to hear any frequencies that have lost all of the related hair cells.
Interacting with others can become really frustrating if you’re dealing with this kind of hearing loss. Your family members may think they need to yell at you in order to be heard even though you only have difficulty hearing certain wavelengths. And higher frequency sounds, such as your sister speaking to you, often get drowned out by background noise for individuals with this kind of hearing loss.
We can utilize the hearing test to individualize hearing solutions
We will be able to custom program a hearing aid for your particular hearing requirements once we’re able to comprehend which frequencies you’re having trouble hearing. Modern hearing aids have the ability to know exactly what frequencies go into the microphone. It can then make that frequency louder so you’re able to hear it. Or it can change the frequency through frequency compression to another frequency that you can hear. Additionally, they can improve your ability to process background noise.
Modern hearing aids are programmed to target your specific hearing requirements instead of just turning up the volume on all frequencies, which creates a smoother listening experience.
If you believe you may be dealing with hearing loss, call us and we can help.