Many of us know we have hearing loss, but don’t know a whole lot more about it. The four questions below will help you better understand your hearing loss. If you have not had your hearing tested before, these are some of the things you will learn after getting a complete audiogram (hearing test).
- Do you have hearing loss in both ears?
Hearing loss in one ear is called a unilateral loss and hearing loss in both ears is bilateral hearing loss.
- What type of hearing loss do you have?
There are three main types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss is a type of hearing loss caused most often by abnormalities of the hair cells in the cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss is often referred to as “nerve deafness” and is the most common type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is eligible for Esteem treatment. There are many causes of sensorineural hearing loss; aging, genetics, noise exposure and injury are a few of them.
Conductive Hearing Loss is the result of an obstruction in the outer ear, middle ear or of the eardrum itself. Typical causes include: heredity, birth defects, head trauma, ear infection, buildup of wax or fluid in the middle ear or a perforated eardrum. Conductive hearing loss can sometimes be reversed via various medical procedures or surgery.
Mixed Hearing Loss, as the name implies, reflects a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
- What range does your hearing loss fall in?
When an audiologist performs a hearing test, each ear is tested separately in a soundproof booth. To determine the range of your hearing loss, the audiologist will play different tones at different frequencies, from low tones to high tones, at volume levels from very low volume to progressively louder. The patient will press a button or raise their hand when they hear a tone. When the test is completed the graph (audiogram) will show where the patients hearing threshold is, and what range it is in regards to: mild, moderate, severe, or profound levels.
- How well do you understand words?
During this part of the evaluation in the soundproof booth, an audiologist will test how well you understand words at a volume that is comfortable for you, testing each ear separately. You will then hear a list of about twenty words spoken one by one, and you will repeat the word back as you hear it. At the end of this test, a percentage is assigned as to how many words you heard correctly in each ear. This test is shown on your audiogram as your speech discrimination or word discrimination score, and measures how well you understand speech in each ear at a comfortable volume.
Understanding these aspects of your hearing will help you and hearing professionals understand what options might be a good fit for your specific loss.
If you have not had your hearing tested, that is the first step. If you have had your hearing tested it’s a good idea to get a copy of the test. We will perform a basic review of any audiogram if you would like to learn more about your loss to better answer these questions. Audiograms can be submitted here, emailed to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to us at 651-925-5023.
If you have questions about submitting your audiogram or would like more information, please contact us.