Hearing Test Explanations

It might seem odd to list a hearing test explanation as a separate service.  Then again you might also be surprised how many of our patients have never received an explanation of their hearing test during years of visits with their ENT or Audiologist.  At the Better Hearing Center we take the time to explain what is happening to your hearing, why it is happening, and how it affects what you hear.

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Hearing loss affects each person differently.  Some people are very high functioning despite a very deep hearing loss.  Other people are deeply hampered by a relatively minor hearing loss.  It is important to assess what you are not hearing well and get a baseline hearing test and explanation from a qualified hearing professional.

With most hearing loss, a person hears some parts of speech better than other parts.  For example, when a person has a high frequency loss similar to the one depicted below in the audiogram, they are not hearing letters like T’s, P’s, F’s, S’s, and blends like TH’s, ST’s, SH’s, and  CH’s as well they are hearing letters like B’s, D’s, M’s, R’s and vowels.

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The picture of the audiogram to the right was created during the hearing tone test.  Like a piano keyboard, the deepest tones (the lowest frequencies) are at the left, and the highest tones (the highest frequencies) are at the right.  The softest volume is at the top of the page and the loudest volume is at the bottom of the page.  X’s mark the softest level of volume detected with the left ear and O’s mark the softest level of volume detected with the right ear. This audiogram shows an individual who hears deep tones with a minor loss, a moderate loss in the middle tones and a much more distinct moderately severe loss in the upper middle and higher tones.

Hearing loss has a few very common symptoms.  During a conversation, when there is word or phrase that is unclear, your brain briefly and partially disengages from the conversation in an attempt to figure out what was said.  When this happens, a few more words or phrases are being spoken, which you might also miss.  At this point, three of the most common symptoms of hearing loss become evident. 

First, you are aware you can hear a voice and you know who is speaking, but you cannot hear the voice clearly enough to make out what is being said.  This leaves many people perplexed. Some typical emotions when this is occurs are “Frustration”, “Anxiety”, and “Embarrassment”.

Second, your brain might make a quick judgment call about what it heard, but guesses incorrectly.  In other words, you mis-hear what was said. 

Third, it can seem as though the person you are talking to is talking too quickly.  This happens because some of your attention is diverted while trying to figure out what is being said.

A fourth very common symptom of hearing loss is when you have a distinct reduction in your ability to understand what is being said when even a little background noise is present. Individuals with very good hearing are impacted by background noise when it gets loud enough.  When a person has hearing loss, it doesn’t take very much noise or very many voices to make it much harder to distinguish what is being said.