January 28, 2022

Back to Basics: Understanding Your Hearing Test

After your initial appointment with Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute, you will leave with a graph depicting the results of your hearing test. There are a lot of symbols and colors, but what do they all mean?

The graph you received is called an Audiogram. The audiogram shows two things: Pitch and Volume.

  • Across the top of the graph is pitch. The left side is low pitch, the right side it high pitch, kind of like a piano keyboard.
  • Down the side of the graph is volume.  The top is very soft, the bottom is very loud.
  • You will also see the degrees of hearing loss as shaded sections ranging from NORMAL hearing to a PROFOUND hearing loss. The further down the graph, the more hearing loss is present.

On your print out of the audiogram, there will be O symbols for the right ear and X symbols for the left ear.  You may also see these color coded as red for right and blue for left.

  • These symbols correspond to the softest sound you can hear at each of the pitches when we had you in the sound booth.  You hear everything BELOW the symbols.
  • The graph example below shows that the patient hears in the NORMAL in the low pitches and SEVERE in the highest pitches.
  • The lower pitch sounds generally correspond with the Vowels of speech, which give volume
  • The higher pitch sounds generally correspond with the consonants of speech, which give clarity.
  • For patients with more hearing loss in the higher pitches, they will generally HEAR that someone is talking but may not UNDERSTAND exactly what is being said.

Below this graph will test your speech understanding. We test two aspects of speech.

  • The first is your Speech Reception Threshold or SRT, which measures the softest level of speech in which you can repeat words
  • The second is your Word Recognition Score. This is a percentage of how many words you repeated correctly at a comfortable volume. We use this to test optimal performance understanding speech WITHOUT the presence of noise.

All of these components are reviewed during your appointments with us at JHBI.  We use the combination of how soft you are hearing tones, combined with your speech understanding, to determine if you would benefit from hearing aids or implantable devices.

We like to repeat your hearing test once per year, sooner if you feel necessary, to monitor any changes in hearing and word understanding. If you think your hearing has changed, or think you would benefit from hearing aids, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment.


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