Measuring hearing loss is more technical than it might at first seem. You can most likely hear certain things clearly at lower volumes but not others. The majority of letters may sound clear at any volume but others, such as “s” and “b” could get lost. It will become more apparent why you notice inconsistencies with your hearing when you learn how to interpret your hearing test. It’s because there’s more to hearing than simply cranking up the volume.
How do I read the results of my audiogram?
An audiogram is a type of hearing test that hearing professionals utilize to determine how you hear. It won’t look as basic as a scale from one to ten. (Wouldn’t it be great if it did!)
Instead, it’s written on a graph, and that’s why many find it perplexing. But you too can understand a hearing test if you know what you’re looking at.
Decoding the volume section of your hearing test
The volume in Decibels is detailed on the left side of the graph (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. You have 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. If you can’t hear sound until it gets up to 90 dB or more (louder than the volume of a running lawnmower), it means that you’re dealing with profound hearing loss.
Examining frequency on a audiogram
Volume isn’t the only thing you hear. You hear sound at different frequencies, commonly known as pitches in music. Frequencies allow you to distinguish between types of sounds, and this includes the letters of the alphabet.
Frequencies which a human ear can hear, ranging from 125 (lower than a bullfrog) to 8000 (higher than a cricket), are normally listed along the lower section of the chart.
This test will allow us to figure out how well you can hear within a range of wavelengths.
So if you’re dealing with hearing loss in the higher wavelengths, you may need the volume of high frequency sounds to be as loud as 60 dB (the volume of someone talking at an elevated volume). The chart 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?
So in real life, what might the results of this test mean for you? High-frequency hearing loss, which is a very common form of loss would make it harder to hear or understand:
- “F”, “H”, “S”
- Whispers, even if hearing volume is good
- Beeps, dings, and timers
- Higher pitched voices like women and children tend to have
Certain specific frequencies might be harder for a person who has high frequency hearing loss to hear, even within the higher frequency range.
Within the inner ear little stereocilia (hair-like cells) vibrate in response to sound waves. If the cells that pick up a specific frequency become damaged and ultimately die, you will lose your ability to hear that frequency at lower volumes. If all of the cells that pick up that frequency are damaged, then you completely lose your ability to hear that frequency regardless of volume.
Interacting with other people can become really frustrating if you’re dealing with this type of hearing loss. You might have difficulty only hearing specific frequencies, but your family members might think they have to yell in order for you to hear them at all. And higher frequency sounds, such as your sister talking to you, often get drowned out by background noise for people who have this type of hearing loss.
Hearing solutions can be personalized by a hearing professional by utilizing a hearing test
We will be able to custom tune a hearing aid for your particular hearing needs once we’re able to comprehend which frequencies you’re not able to hear. 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 use its frequency compression feature to adjust the frequency to one you can better hear. Additionally, they can enhance your ability to process background noise.
Modern hearing aids are programmed to target your particular hearing needs rather than just turning up the volume on all frequencies, which creates a smoother listening experience.
Make an appointment for a hearing test today if you think you may be suffering from hearing loss. We can help.