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How Are Audiometry Tests Interpreted?

a hearing specialist is reviewing a patient's audiogram

When you are dealing with any type of hearing loss, the first step is having a hearing test that can detect your hearing loss as well as provide detailed answers about the best steps to take, moving forward. You will most likely be asked to take part in what is known as an audiometry exam. 

This is a detailed exam that tests your hearing functions, both of which include the intensity and the tone of sounds, including balance issues and many other issues associated with the inner ear. The inner ear itself is incredibly complex and cannot be seen by any type of examination, only with an MRI scan, therefore an audiometry exam will help diagnose issues relating to hearing. 

An audiologist will administer the test, which is a simple and easy process which will give a very accurate reading of the way in which your ears are functioning. 

Is it easy and what should I expect?

It is a very easy test, which will require listening to certain types of sounds through headphones, often beeps that will range in sound level and frequency and you will be able to record when the sounds are heard. Some of them are particularly quiet so a little focus is required, but once the test is over, your audiometry tests will then be interpreted and analyzed by a professional, who will assess your hearing. You will most likely feel a sense of relief, knowing that you are one step closer to improving your hearing loss. 

How will it be read and interpreted? 

This is a very simple procedure carried out by professionals who are trained to a very high level in a professional healthcare environment. Pure tone testing is one element that is used to measure hearing sensitivity. Hearing sensitivity is accurately plotted on an audiogram, a type of graph used to analyze the function of frequency and how the ear is reacting to it. 

The science behind these types of tests are relatively complex, but these graphs that are produced from the audiometry tests will show if your results are out of the normal hearing ranges, which range from zero to 20 dB in all frequencies. Often, they are split into two categories, conductive or sensorineural. There are also many types of audiometry available which include:

  • Pure-tone audiometry
  • Speech audiometry
  • Suprathreshold audiometry
  • Self-recording audiometry 
  • Impedance audiometry
  • Computer-administered audiometry
  • Subjective audiometry
  • Objective audiometry

The different types of audiometry tests may depend on your symptoms and a range of other factors but you will speak with a healthcare professional who will be glad to inform you of the type of tests they will be performing. 

Once the information is recorded following the series of tests, it will display on a graph. The graph indicates quiet to moderate and very loud sounds and will be represented on the graph as red circles and blue crosses. This loudness will be measured in decibels. Any points that are heard at 20dB or quieter are considered to be within the normal range, so anything that is higher than this could be classed as a mild form of hearing loss. 

The higher up the number goes, the more profound the hearing loss. Anything over 70 is classed as severe and anything above 90 is profound. Anything above 30 could be classed as a candidate however for a hearing aid, which will assist your ear with its sound interpretation, amplifying the sounds around you as well as being able to assist you with everyday sounds and louder sounds. 

Is an Audiometry test safe and can it have any drawbacks?

No, it is a perfectly safe test that is conducted daily all across the world. It is a diagnostic test, which means that it is used to diagnose hearing loss as well as the severity of it. The sounds provided in the test are not loud or invasive but rather the opposite, softer and with different frequencies which will have no impact on your hearing or your balance. 

While it may require a little attention at the time, it provides accurate results which are only beneficial in the long run. If you have any further questions however, your healthcare professional will speak through this with you. There are no risks attached to any type of audiometry test. 

For more information on audiometry tests and hearing loss call us today at 905-697-3838 and discover the gift of hearing once again.