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How to Understand Your Hearing Test
When you have your hearing tested, you’ll have the option to take a copy of your results with you. It’s always a good idea to keep a copy of your hearing test results, as this can enable you to monitor your hearing function over time. Additionally, your hearing test results can be used to help you find the right hearing aids and devices, so it’s essential to have this information.
However, interpreting the results of your hearing test can seem challenging at first, but your audiologist will walk you through each step. Most audiologists use an audiogram to plot the results of your hearing test, so you’ll need to decipher what it all means before you get a clear idea of what your hearing test results show.
Fortunately, an audiogram isn’t as complicated as it first appears. With the right information, you can easily determine what your audiogram shows and use this information to help you find the right treatments and hearing aids.
Understanding an audiogram
An audiogram usually consists of a graph, with numbers in kilohertz or hertz along the top or bottom and numbers in decibels, or dB, going vertically up the side. On the graph itself, you’ll see two lines, usually one in blue and one in red. These two lines show your hearing function in both ears. The blue line may represent your left ear and the red line your right ear, for example.
You’ll also notice that there are Xs and Ox plotted on the lines along the graph. Typically, either an X or O is used for each year. A blue line with Xs along it may show your left ear test results; for example, while the red line with Os plotted along, it will show your test results for your right ear.
If the lines appear to be very similar, this means that your hearing loss is similar in both ears. Known as symmetrical hearing loss, this is commonly seen in age-related instances of hearing loss. However, if the two lines are different from one another, this indicates that your hearing loss varies from ear to ear. Referred to as asymmetrical hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend that you have additional tests carried out if you’re experiencing this type of hearing loss.
Identifying high and low-frequency hearing loss
An audiogram can also be used to identify high or low frequency hearing loss. This refers to the type of noises you’re unable to hear. High-frequency hearing loss means you’ll find it harder to hear high-pitched sounds, while low frequency hearing loss makes it more difficult to hear low-pitched sounds.
When you look at your audiogram, you’ll see that the horizontal numbers on the top or bottom of the graph are in kilohertz or hertz. This measures the frequency of sounds you can hear and tells you whether you have high or low-frequency hearing loss.
If you see a blue line with a lot of Xs in the bottom left corner of the graph, for example, this may imply that you have low-frequency hearing loss in your left ear, for example. The blue line and Xs represents your left year and placing them on the left side means that you’re struggling to hear low pitched sounds. The fact that they appear in the bottom left corner means that you can only hear these sounds as their volume increases, as seen by the change in decibels going vertically up the side of the graph.
Interpreting your audiogram results
If you’re struggling to understand your hearing test results, there’s no need to panic. Your audiologist will be happy to explain what the graph represents and will ensure that you fully understand what the results of your tests show.
In addition to this, your audiologist can tell you what your test results mean in a real-life context and what type of treatment is available. Some hearing aids may be best suited to people with moderate, low-frequency hearing loss, for example, while others may be more effective for severe, high-frequency loss.
Understanding your hearing test results can give you a better understanding of your hearing loss, but it’s always important to obtain professional assistance when interpreting hearing test results. With expert intervention, you can ensure that you understand every element of your hearing test results and learn what types of hearing devices could be beneficial for you.
To find out more about hearing tests and what you can expect, contact Salyer Hearing Center at our Sylva location by calling 828-586-7474, Franklin at 828-524-5599 or Murphy at 828-835-1014.