Hearing is a critical sense that enables you to interact with the world surrounding you and have meaningful conversations with others. A hearing test, often referred to as an audiogram, is a diagnostic instrument that evaluates the responsiveness of your hearing to various sounds. To understand the results of a hearing test, it’s important to know the components included in the test and the implications those elements have for your overall auditory health. Along with basic education, working with a skilled team that uses the latest tools and techniques to provide you with a precise diagnosis is essential.
At Hearing Associates of Las Vegas, our team stays current with the latest hearing health information, allowing us to provide you with the best care possible. Continue reading to learn more about the audiogram and the steps our team takes to help you with your hearing health.
What Is an Audiogram?
There are two main components of an audiogram. And for the most part, the test is the same across the board. Differences arise depending on the team performing the test, the time they take to meet with you, and the options they can provide. In other words, the team behind the test is just as critical as the test itself.
Frequency: The frequency of a sound, measured in Hertz (Hz), is equivalent to the sound’s pitch. Frequency can be expressed as a fraction of a second. On an audiogram, frequencies are shown down the horizontal axis, typically ranging from low to high frequencies.
Intensity (Loudness): The loudness of a sound is measured in decibels (dB), which is also the unit of measurement for intensity. An audiogram displays it along the vertical axis of the graph. The decibel levels of the quietest noises an individual can hear at each frequency are measured, and the results are plotted on the chart.
Making Sense of the Results
A hearing test determines how sensitive your hearing is to noises of varying frequencies by measuring the softest sounds they can pick up on. The audiogram shows the data with symbols or lines that indicate the thresholds for each frequency. The findings are broken down into several distinct degrees of hearing loss, which are as follows:
- Normal Hearing: You have a normal hearing level if your thresholds fall within the range of -10 dB to 25 dB across the board for all frequencies. This means you have no trouble picking up hushed conversations or other quiet noises.
- Mild Hearing Loss: This level of hearing loss is indicated by thresholds ranging from 26 dB to 40 dB. You might not even realize you have some hearing loss. Still, when it’s explained, you might pinpoint times you’ve had difficulty understanding speech at lower volumes, particularly in noisy situations.
- Moderate Hearing Loss: Hearing loss that is classified as moderate occurs when the thresholds are between 41 and 55 dB. Hearing aids might be necessary if you have moderate hearing loss since you might have trouble understanding typical speech.
- Moderately Severe Hearing Loss: The thresholds for hearing loss that are considered to be moderately severe range from 56 dB to 70 dB. In the absence of amplification, speech becomes increasingly challenging to understand. In other words, hearing aids are necessary at this stage.
- Severe Hearing Loss: Hearing loss of a severe nature is indicated by thresholds that range from 71 to 90 dB in magnitude. Without hearing aids, it may be difficult to understand very loud speech.
- Substantial Hearing Loss: You will be diagnosed with substantial hearing loss if your thresholds exceed 91 decibels.
Implications for the Health of the Auditory System
The hearing thresholds revealed by the audiogram have significant repercussions for the health of the ear and your overall health. Hearing loss can impair your ability to speak clearly, resulting in social isolation, a decreased quality of life, and increased frustration levels. Communication ability can be considerably improved with the appropriate intervention, such as hearing assistive devices.
It’s also important to note that untreated hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline as well as an increased risk of illnesses like dementia. It is possible that preserving cognitive function can be helped by treating hearing loss with the appropriate devices and therapies.
Another implication of hearing loss is that it can impair your ability to recognize warning signals and sounds in your environment. This can put you in danger in a variety of settings, such as while attempting to cross a busy street or when responding to an emergency.
And as mentioned above, your emotional well-being is linked to hearing loss since it can increase emotions of despair and anxiety, as well as lower your sense of self-worth.
What Can You Expect From Our Team?
We understand the implication of hearing loss on your life, which is why we are dedicated to providing you with comprehensive care. When you set foot in our office, you will feel welcomed and may even get a freshly baked cookie from our friendly Patient Care Coordinators. Once you’ve been called back for your appointment, you’ll meet with one of our board-certified hearing instrument specialists to explore your concerns and give you an overview of the day’s appointment.
You’ll get a Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation from there, including a Tone Threshold and Speech Recognition Test. When we combine the results of these tests, we can pinpoint the nature of your hearing loss and provide accurate results and options moving forward. In many instances, you can take home a device to try, but our support doesn’t stop there. After your trial run, you will come back to our office so we can review your feelings about the device, answer additional questions, and explore other options if needed.
We understand that struggling with hearing loss is frustrating and strive to ensure you get the information you need to feel confident about your hearing health.
Visit Us Today
Understanding the degree of hearing loss revealed by the audiogram is necessary to properly interpret the audiologist’s hearing test results. These findings have significant repercussions for various facets of life, including communication, cognitive health, physical safety, emotional well-being, and other areas. It is possible to improve your auditory health and overall quality of life by seeking treatment as soon as possible, whether that treatment consists of hearing aids or something else.
Working closely with our team is essential to ensure your hearing remains in the best possible condition. If you’re concerned about your hearing health, contact our team today to see how we can help you.