Hearing loss is a common condition that gets more likely as we age. If you’ve noticed that you’re having to turn up the television louder than usual or that conversations are harder to follow when you’re out with friends at Brightside Café, it might be time to schedule a hearing test.
Reasons to Have Your Hearing Tested
Hearing loss can do more than just make it difficult to understand speech and sounds. Research has shown that untreated hearing loss may:
- Increase feelings of depression, anger and anxiety
- Increase physical injuries, specifically falls
- Increase your risk of cognitive decline and dementia
- Make it harder to concentrate and store new information
- Interfere with your job performance
- Put a strain on your relationships
Interpreting Your Audiogram
Your hearing test results will be plotted on a chart or graph known as an audiogram. Audiograms plot your hearing thresholds across a range of frequencies in each ear. A hearing threshold is defined as the softest sound you are able to hear about 50% of the time.
Things to note when you look at your audiogram:
- You will see a horizontal (x) and a vertical (y) axis.
- The x-axis represents frequency in Hertz (Hz) from lowest to highest. The frequency range tested is usually 250-8,000 Hz.
- The y-axis of the audiogram notes the intensity of a sound in decibels (dB), with the lowest levels at the top of the graph.
- The red line represents responses from your right ear while the blue line represents responses from your left ear.
- The Xs and Os show at what decibel and frequency level each ear could hear a tone
- If the red line and blue line basically overlap, you have symmetrical hearing loss. If they are on different paths, you have asymmetrical hearing loss, which means your hearing loss is worse in one ear than the other.
An adult is classified as having normal hearing if their audiogram shows that they heard noises between 0 to 25 dB across the frequency range. If their hearing threshold is narrower, it indicates hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss
While it can be upsetting to learn you have hearing loss, early intervention offers the best treatment outcome. In most instances of hearing loss, your audiologist will recommend hearing aids. They will work with you to find a custom pair that best meets your needs and maximizes your hearing ability.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants today.