Florida Hearing Matters - Fort Lauderdale, FL

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

It might seem, at first, like measuring hearing loss would be easy. If you’re dealing with 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 just fine at whatever volume. When you figure out how to interpret your hearing test it becomes more obvious why your hearing seems “inconsistent”. Because merely turning up the volume isn’t enough.

How do I interpret the results of my audiogram?

Hearing professionals will be able to get a read on the state of your hearing by making use of this type of hearing test. It would be wonderful if it looked as basic as a scale from one to ten, but sadly, that’s not the situation.

Rather, it’s printed on a graph, which is why many individuals find it perplexing. But if you understand what you’re looking at, you too can interpret the results of your audiogram.

Examining volume on an audiogram

The volume in Decibels is listed on the left side of the graph (from 0 dB to around 120 dB). This number will determine 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 need louder sound.

A loss of volume between 26 dB and 45 dB signifies mild hearing loss. If hearing begins at 45-65 dB then you’re dealing with moderate hearing loss. Hearing loss is severe if your hearing begins at 66-85 dB. If you are unable to hear sound until it reaches 90 dB or more (louder than the volume of a running lawnmower), it means that you have profound hearing loss.

Reading frequency on a hearing test

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 distinguished by frequency or pitch.

Along the bottom of the graph, you’ll typically see frequencies that a human ear can hear, starting from a low frequency of 125 (deeper than a bullfrog) to a high frequency of 8000 (higher than a cricket)

We will check how well you’re able to hear frequencies in between and can then plot them on the graph.

So, for illustration, if you have 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 an elevated, but not yelling, voice). The volume that the sound must reach for you to hear each frequency varies and will be plotted on the graph.

Is it significant to track both frequency and volume?

So in real life, what might the results of this test mean for you? Here are some sounds that would be tougher to hear if you have the very common form of high frequency hearing loss:

  • Women and children who tend to have higher-pitched voices
  • “F”, “H”, “S”
  • Birds
  • Music
  • Whispers, even if hearing volume is good
  • Beeps, dings, and timers

Certain particular frequencies may be more difficult for a person who has high frequency hearing loss to hear, even within the higher frequency range.

Inside your inner ear there are very small hair-like nerve cells that vibrate along with sounds. If the cells that detect a specific frequency become damaged and ultimately 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 related hair cells.

This kind of hearing loss can make some communications with friends and family really aggravating. You might have trouble only hearing specific frequencies, but your family members may think they have to yell to be heard at all. In addition, those with this type of hearing loss find background sound overpowers louder, higher-frequency sounds such as your sister talking to you in a restaurant.

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 understand which frequencies you’re not able to hear. Contemporary hearing aids have the ability to know exactly what frequencies go into the microphone. It can then make that frequency louder so you can hear it. Or it can make use of its frequency compression feature to adjust the frequency to one you can hear better. Additionally, they can improve your ability to process background noise.

This delivers a smoother more natural hearing experience for the hearing aid wearer because rather than just making everything louder, it’s meeting your personal hearing needs.

If you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss, call 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.