What is an audiogram?
An audiogram is essentially a graph. This specific graph is designed to illustrate an overview of your hearing health, compared to what is considered “normal” or healthy hearing.
Like any other graph, an audiogram features an X axis and a Y axis.
The vertical X axis is representative of a person’s hearing level, from quiet to loud, which is measured in decibels. (dB) The horizontal Y axis represents frequencies, from low pitch to high pitch, which is measured in hertz. (Hz)
With the measurements of each axis combined, an audiologist can compare your test results to those that are considered healthy, and identify what frequencies you’re missing, and at what volume you’re missing them.
Why is this important? If your audiogram does show that you have a hearing loss that is treatable with hearing aid technology, we can then program your hearing aids to provide you support at the precise frequencies and volume you need it.
This helps those who regularly wear their hearing aids to rediscover sounds they didn’t even know they were missing, from children’s voices, to the crackle of leaves, to many other sounds unique to their lives.
An audiogram is a crucial part of the hearing care process, and it’s one that Colorado Ear Care specializes in.
How are audiograms made?
At Colorado Ear Care, we offer comprehensive hearing tests, above and beyond our competitors, in order to give you the most accurate results possible. This gives you the clearest understanding of your hearing health, and allows us to make treatment recommendations that are unique to your needs.
When it comes to producing your audiogram, we invite you into a comfortable, soundproof booth. It being soundproof matters, because it reduces the chances of any outside sounds skewing your results or distracting you.
Once you’re seated inside the booth, we’ll ask you to put on a pair of headphones that are specially calibrated to ensure standardization and accuracy from test to test.
Your audiologist will then play a series of different tones through your headphones at different volumes. Your ability to hear those sounds — and to hear them at different volumes — will help us understand if you have hearing loss. The frequencies you’re missing and the volume you’re missing them at will tell us how severe your hearing loss is.
Are audiograms the only tests audiologists use?
Not at Colorado Ear Care. An audiogram is a critical part of our testing process, but it’s part of the process.
When you come to us for your hearing care, we start the testing process with what we call your case history. This is critical to understanding your hearing health and making recommendations designed to help you hear and feel your best.
The case history portion of testing consists of an interview. We’ll cover a series of questions, including those like:
- When did you first suspect you were having trouble with your hearing?
- Are there specific situations or environments that are more difficult to hear?
- What is your noise exposure history? (Loud jobs, hobbies, or other factors)
- Do your ears ring, buzz, squeal, or make pulsing sounds? (Potential tinnitus)
- Do your ears ever feel like they’re filled with pressure?
- Do your ears hurt?
- Have you noticed that you’re dizzy, or that your balance is off?
If possible, we recommend that you bring a companion with you, a family member or friend who can offer their own perspective on your hearing. Because hearing loss occurs gradually, loved ones can provide additional insight that will help us better understand your situation.
Once we’ve completed your case history, then we move into the next phase, which involves us looking for any potential mechanical issues you may have.
What are mechanical issues? They could be as simple as blockage in your ears caused by a buildup of earwax, debris, or some other obstruction, and if that’s the case, then we’ll use a special set of tools to carefully and as comfortably as possible clean your ears.
Other mechanical issues could include imperfections in your eardrums, or problems with the bones in your middle ear.
In order to best identify those mechanical issues, we use a tool called a tympanometer.
After testing for mechanical problems, we move onto measuring your hearing’s sensitivity, which consists of the tone test we described above. Once we’ve completed that step, then we measure your ability to understand speech in noise, which is also a central part of your audiogram’s results.
In some instances, we may need to conduct more tests in order to get a better picture of your hearing. In other cases, we can move onto the treatment recommendation phase.
Sometimes, your results show that you have hearing loss that can be treated medically. In those cases, we’ll refer you back to your doctor. For those cases where your hearing loss can be treated via technology, our team will show you the best devices for your specific hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.
Interested in learning more about how you can rediscover the sounds you’ve been missing? There’s no time to waste! Contact Colorado Ear Care today for your hearing wellness exam!