How To Read Hearing Test Results
While perhaps an overlooked part of the body, your hearing and ear health is incredibly important. While a slight loss of hearing is to be expected as we begin to age, we shouldn’t feel limited in the world by a lack of hearing. Therefore, by getting your hearing tested, you can find the necessary solutions to allow you to tackle new social situations with confidence and ease. Your hearing should never hold you back from interacting with those around you.
Fortunately, the process of testing your hearing is incredibly quick and easy, allowing you to receive answers during your appointment. Professionals who specialize in hearing, such as the audiologists at torontofamilyhearing.com, will then work with you to find solutions to any issues you may be experiencing, from a loss of hearing to tinnitus.
After the testing, you will receive your results, allowing you to see how your hearing fairs in each ear. But for those unfamiliar with the chart, reading your results may feel a bit confusing. Therefore, let’s take a look at how to read your hearing test results.
Reading Your Test Results
After your hearing test, also known as audiometric testing, you will receive your hearing test results. This chart is known as an audiogram, and it plots your hearing thresholds across various frequencies.
You will see two axes on your audiogram. The horizontal axis, or x-axis, shows the frequency (or pitch) from lowest to highest. The lowest frequency that is typically tested is usually 250 Hertz, while the highest frequency is typically 8000 Hertz. However, don’t be surprised if the numbers on the graph extend past this range; they simply will not be taken into account. It may help to think of a piano when looking at the x-axis. Just like on a piano, the lower notes (pitches) are on the left side, while the higher notes (pitches) are on the right.
The vertical axis, or y-axis, indicates the sound’s loudness or intensity in decibels. The lowest, or quietest, levels will sit at the top of the graph, while the loudest will sit at the bottom. It may surprise you to see a negative number at the top of the graph, as one may think that zero is an absence of sound. However, zero is actually the softest sound that a person with normal hearing can pick up on. Therefore, those with excellent hearing, typically children, may be able to hear sounds softer than zero decibels.
You will also see two lines on your audiogram, each plotting an ear. Your left ear is generally marked by a blue line and “X” plot points, while your right ear is typically marked with a red line and “O” plot points. This allows you to clearly distinguish each ear without confusion. A legend will be included with the audiogram, allowing you to refer back to it if you forget which line indicates which ear.
During your audiometry test, you will be asked to sit in a quiet booth with a pair of headphones. A series of frequencies will then be played through the headphones, and you will be asked to indicate when you hear a sound. It’s important to note that it’s normal not to hear every sound, so don’t be worried if you feel you are missing a few.
The sounds you are able to pick up will be plotted in your audiogram. If both lines are similar to each other, then that means your hearing is symmetrical. If there is a significant difference between the two, then you are experiencing differing degrees of hearing loss in your ears.
Your audiologist will examine your audiogram to determine whether there is any worrying hearing loss, and use it as a starting point to help find solutions to any concerns you may have.