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READING YOUR AUDIOGRAM

How do I read my Audiogram?

Here is one of our sample audiograms for you to view. It consists of four parts: Otoscopy & Acoustic Reflexes, Tympanometry, Pure Tone Audiometry, and Speech Testing.

OTOSCOPY & ACOUSTIC REFLEXES

An otoscopy is a test that reveals the way your outer ear (ear canal and eardrum) looks, which can rule out blockage, signs of damage, infection, or inflammation. The test is performed with an otoscope or auriscope, a medical device that commonly is fixed with an internal light to clearly view the area. If no complications are found, the audiologist will record it by marking Y in the “Canal Clear” portion of the document. Any abnormalities found will be noted for further investigation.An acoustic reflex is an involuntary contraction of a muscle behind the eardrum when a loud sound occurs. We can measure the contraction of that muscle using a quick and painless tool called an immittance bridge, and if the reflex is present it indicates normal function of several of the nerves in the auditory system. An acoustic reflex might be absent due to any number of factors, the most common being moderate to severe hearing loss.

An acoustic reflex is an involuntary contraction of a muscle behind the eardrum when a loud sound occurs. Acoustic reflex is done with a simple measurement of the contraction of that muscle using a quick and painless tool called an immittance bridge. If the reflex is present, it indicates that several of the nerves are functioning within normal range. An acoustic reflex might be absent due to any number of factors, the most common being moderate to severe hearing loss.

audiogram
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TYMPANOMETRY

A tympanometry test is performed with a tympanometer which is made up of three parts of three parts: a speaker which sends a humming sound into the ear canal, a microphone which measures the echo from the eardrum, and a pump which creates a slight pressure change within the ear. Using a tympanometer, we can measure the volume of the ear canal and the flexibility of the eardrum and middle ear. This helps detect any pressure abnormalities that might be present in the middle ear space. A normal tympanogram indicates a healthy eardrum and middle ear, while an abnormal reading may indicate signs of perforation or infection.

PURE TONE AUDIOMETRY

This is what commonly comes to mind when visualizing a hearing test. For this test, you will sit in a sound booth and listen for beeps at different pitches and volumes. You will then notify the audiologist when you hear each beep. The results are noted on your audiogram, which is the graph at the bottom left of the page above. To understand the graph, you should know that the low pitches are on the left side and the pitch gets higher as you move to the right. Pitch is measured by frequency, with low frequency representing bass sounds and high representing treble. In terms of speech, vowels are low frequency and consonants are higher frequency. On an audiogram, good hearing scores reside at the top of the graph and hearing loss severity is determined by how low on the graph your hearing resides. Red represents the right ear and blue is on the left. If the black line is within 10 decibels of the red or blue lines,  it means your hearing loss is sensorineural, if it is further apart than there is evidence of conductive hearing loss. The above patient suffers from mild to moderate high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. This means she will have difficulty understanding speech in loud surroundings or if she cannot see the person she is speaking with. She hears vowels well and does not feel that volume is a problem, but has difficulty understanding people who do not speak carefully. She has had great success regaining her hearing abilities with the help of hearing aids.

SPEECH TESTING

The speech portion of testing is performed to see how well a person understands words when the volume is loud enough for them to hear clearly, but without looking at the person while they talk. If a person has a high word recognition score, it means that they will do well with a hearing aid because they simply need amplification. If the word recognition score is poor, it points to distortion in the nerve. This means making sounds louder may still not bring clarity.

The other two numbers on the speech testing table indicate how loud the volume had to be for the person can repeat a two-syllable word and the volume that became uncomfortable, bordering on painful for said person. These measurements help in the hearing aid programming process.