Experiencing hearing loss can be concerning but, in most cases, it is nothing to be worried about. Hearing loss can occur for a variety of reasons including exposing your ears to loud sounds on a regular basis, excessive wax or infection and natural age-related hearing loss common in 60–75-year-olds.
Should you experience hearing loss then it is best advised that you book an appointment with a hearing professional such as a Hearing Instrument Specialist who can examine your ears and perform specific tests in order to assess each of your ears’ individual hearing responses.
The test and its results are known as an audiogram and is designed to measure your response to both volume and pitch across various sounds and speech patterns. The results of a hearing test can look confusing at first, but they are actually really simple since they only assess two metrics which are displayed as a readable diagram.
Should you have any questions or are unable to understand the results then ask your Hearing Instrument Specialist to explain them to you, which they will be more than happy to do and they can provide a copy upon request.
The primary metric for assessing hearing loss is that of your ability to hear certain volume levels measured in decibels (dB). A typical human ear can hear volumes from between zero and 120dB however anything over 80dB is considered dangerous to the human ear and causes significant issues such as hearing loss and tinnitus.
Your hearing test results will typically display the volume of each test for each ear in a sequential manner and in correlation with pitch, with the volume increasing from zero to 120dB. Although the test begins at zero decibels, this doesn’t indicate that there is no audio, rather the normal threshold by which a person with no hearing loss is likely to hear. Volume is represented in the Y-axis of an audiogram.
The corresponding metric in addition to volume is that of pitch measured in hertz. The human ear can actually recognize pitch between 20 and 20,000Hz however that would be uncomfortable, and your hearing test will measure your response between zero and 8000Hz, with speech test ranging between 250 and 6000Hz.
As with volume, the test results for each ear’s pitch recognition are displayed in a sequential manner in correlation with pitch. A simple explanation of pitch would be that of the keys of piano which when played from left to right increases in pitch. Pitch is represented on the X-axis of an audiogram.
Discussing Your Results
Your Hearing Instrument Specialist will be happy to discuss your detailed results at the end of your appointment. This will help you best understand what condition your hearing is in and if you could benefit from any available technologies. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions regarding your results or the recommended treatments to ensure you have a complete picture of your hearing health.