It doesn’t hurt to do a little preparation before your hearing assessment, especially if you’ve never had one before or haven’t had one since you were very young. An understanding of the four terms below will give you a head start in understanding your hearing test and your hearing results.
An audiogram is a chart that a hearing professional will use to track your ability to hear various frequencies during your hearing test. The horizontal axis tracks which frequencies you are trying to hear. The vertical axis tracks how loud a frequency has to be before you hear it. A portion of the chart marks the range of normal hearing. A result below this range indicates a degree of hearing loss.
Sound travels in waves, and frequency, in hertz, measures the number of waves that pass a fixed place in a given amount of time. Low frequencies produce low pitched sounds and high frequencies produce high pitched sounds. As part of your hearing assessment, a hearing professional will determine which pitches you can hear clearly, struggle to hear and can’t hear at all. With age-related hearing loss, high pitched sounds, like children laughing or birds chirping, are the first sounds that one usually stops hearing.
3. Bilateral Hearing Loss
A bilateral hearing loss is a hearing loss in both ears. Degrees of hearing loss can be symmetrical or asymmetrical.
4. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage in the inner ear. Your inner ear contains hair cells that help to transmit sound vibrations into signals that get sent to your brain. These tiny hair cells can damaged over time due to aging, loud noises and/or disease.
Even if your hearing professional uses a term you don’t know, he or she will be more than happy to explain it to you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.