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Reading Audiograms- A Closer Look

Thursday, July 27, 2017 9:09:07 AM Australia/Melbourne

Reading Audiograms- A Closer LookWhen was the last time you went to your general doctor? Did he or she test your hearing? No doubt they probably did, and the important tool that they use to discern your quality of hearing and any impediments that you’d want to treat- is called an audiogram. No, it’s not the newest social media craze, sweeping the nation. And it’s not one of the singing love-grams distributed in some countries on Valentine’s Day. It’s a chart which depicts your hearing ability—specifically, the lowest volume of decibels that your ear can process at a variety of frequencies. But we don’t refer to these as frequencies in audiograms, we call them thresholds.


What is an audiogram?


How does the test itself work? Your general doctor or audiologist will feed you a series of sounds. Each sound will increase incrementally in volume. As soon as you can hear the sound, you’ll press a button nearby. As soon as this button is pressed, a mark is plotted on a graph. These marks, the graph, become your audiogram—a vital reference in conversations with hearing professionals. The key is that you must be able to hear the sounds at least 50% of the time, in order for an audiogram to be useful and successful.


How to interpret an audiogram


When you’re first handed an audiogram, you might be confused about how to read it. You’ll see two lines—one for each ear’s results. Again, hearing is not measured in percentages, which many graphs and charts leverage as an axis. Hearing is measured in decibels. This means that when you look at the vertical axis, or the y axis, measures intensity. Your daily conversations with friends and co-workers will measure around 45-70 decibels, between 500 and 3000 Hz. This is like your average heart rate, the median zone where most can hear just fine. What audiologists and general doctors look for, is the conversations which measure above and below this zone.  


Do you need hearing aids?


We mentioned thresholds. You can look at these in two different ways, within a clinical setting. The first way is to separate normal and significant hearing loss. Normal hearing loss is also frequently referred to as non-aidable loss. This may sound intuitive, it simply means that your hearing loss would not be positively impacted by any hearing aids. If you have significant hearing loss, a hearing aid would prove to be a valuable tool. It’s important to point out that significant is not synonymous with bad. The second way of measuring is split into five levels: normal, mild, moderate, severe and at the top of the list- profound. These are defined in decibels and look specifically at how much difficulty you would experience in your day-to-day life.


There are many tools, references and key players in the field of audiometry. Hearlink is dedicated to sharing all of the information that we can. Audiology is an ever-evolving field, and we feel that it’s important for our patients and customers to be armed with all of the knowledge possible, in order to make the best decisions for you.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin