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Hearing Test Results
Read the article below to better understand your hearing test results.

The Audiogram:

What it is, how to read it, and what it means to you.

Dr. Ryan Leahy, Doctor of Audiology

Ryan Leahy, Au.D. Hearing Solutions of Indiana
To put it simply, the audiogram is a graph of your hearing ability that is created during a hearing test. The audiogram tells your audiologist what types of sounds you can hear well, and what types of sounds you can’t hear due to hearing loss.

Most people can hear sounds at some pitches, but not others! Let’s look at the MOST COMMON type of hearing loss… pictured at right.

Audiogram
This person has a very significant hearing loss. When they arrived at our office, the first thing they said was, “People are always telling me I need to get hearing aids, but I think they all mumble. I can hear just fine! Just the other day I heard the dog barking from half a mile away!”.

How can this be? How can this person, with this severe hearing loss, think that they have totally normal hearing? We look to the audiogram for our answer.

Audiogram
The audiogram shows us the very quietest level of sound that a person can hear across a variety of pitches, from very low “bass” sounds to very high-pitched “ringing” sounds. Each ear has its own symbol:
Audiogram

The numbers running up and down on the left side of the graph represent loudness in decibels (dB). The bigger the number, the louder the sound! If all the X’s and O’s are up towards the top of the graph, the person is considered to have normal hearing. If the X’s and O’s are found towards the bottom of the graph, then the person has severe hearing loss.

The last thing we need to know to read an audiogram is the numbers running left to right across the top of the graph. This represents pitch. The deep, bass-like pitches are shown on the left, and the high-pitched ringing sounds are shown off to the right.

Now that we know how to read the audiogram, let’s consider again our initial question: How can a person with severe hearing loss have no idea that their hearing is bad? Let’s look at the graph.

Audiogram
This person has really good hearing at 250 and 500 Hz, which is a very low-pitched sound. That’s why they could hear their big dog barking… because their big dog has a deep “voice”. But, if there was a bird with a high-pitched “chirp” making noise right next to their ear, they may barely hear it! This is because they have severe hearing loss in the higher pitches.

Okay, so the patient can hear dogs barking, but not birds chirping. So what, right? Well, it turns out high-pitched hearing loss has major consequences in understanding speech.

Hearing Test Results in Indiana 1
We humans are unique. We have developed language to communicate with each other. Our words contain sounds of all sorts of pitches, from very low to very high and everything in between! Here are some examples of low-pitched sounds:

“ah” like in the word “wash”

“oh” like in the word “boat”

“oo” like in the word “loot”

This patient can hear those sounds without any issue. They can hear the “vowels” of speech very well! Here are some sounds they CANNOT hear well at all:

“sh” or “t” like in the words, “sheet” or “shirt”

“f” or “ch” like in the word “fetch”

In many cases, these high-pitched sounds of speech make all the difference in the world, distinguishing one word from another. People with this type of hearing loss have to work harder to communicate with others, because they often have to make their best guess as to what word was said, all while trying to follow the conversation. Throw in multiple people speaking all at once, and they may not hear much of anything at all!

Hearing aids from Hearing Solutions of Indiana are custom programmed to each patient’s specific and unique audiogram. If we look one more time at our audiogram here, it becomes clear that making all sounds louder would simply not work for this patient. This patient had unique needs. We programmed a set of hearing aids that boosted the volume of the higher-pitches by a lot, the middle pitches by a little, and the lower pitches were left alone. The result: Crisp, natural sound quality, increased speech understanding in all situations, and increased quality of life for the patient. Once this patient tried our hearing aids for the first time, they never looked back.

Audiogram

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Hearing Test Results in Indiana

Our audiologists will discuss the patient’s hearing tests results. If you have any questions or would like
to learn more, please give us a call today. To speak to an hearing specialist in Anson/Zionsville, Carmel,
or Fishers, please call us at (317) 973-7109. To talk to the audiologist at the Lafayette or West Lafayette
office, please call us at (765) 771-7109. We are always available to review your hearing test results with
you.

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