January 23, 2014
The basic hearing examination is a measure of the softest sounds your ears can perceive, also called the threshold of hearing. The audiogram is a graphic display of these hearing thresholds that paints a picture of your hearing ability. All test results are graphed on the audiogram, with frequency (pitch) increasing from left to right, and intensity (loudness) increasing from top to bottom. Red circles represent the right ear’s response, and blue X’s show the left ear results.
Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) and is tested in a range from low (like the sound of a foghorn) to high (similar to the sound of crickets). Each vertical line represents a different and discrete frequency value or tone (a single musical note).
Intensity (Hearing Level)
Intensity is measured in decibels (dB). A response at the uppermost portion of the graph (at zero) indicates the patient was able to hear the softest sound the testing machine could make. The further down the audiogram a mark appears, the greater the degree of hearing loss.
In the audiogram on page one, each O or X on the test form corresponds to the softest sounds heard at the testing frequency. For example, the O at 500 Hz shows that the right ear heard a sound at 50 dB. The X at 500 Hz appears at 60 dB, indicating slightly worse hearing in that ear at the same frequency.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
Hearing is classified on a continuum from normal to profound hearing loss. Our sample audiogram shows a moderate hearing loss in the right ear and a moderate to severe loss in the left.
Speech discrimination is a measure of how well an individual understands single words when tested at his or her comfortable listening level with no background noise. Speech discrimination scores generally reflect how well the patient will understand conversation when wearing hearing aids.
Uncomfortable loudness testing determines the maximum loudness levels that your ears can tolerate without experiencing pain. Each ear is tested using both speech and tones. The intensity of each sound is gradually increased until the patient deems it uncomfortably loud. The audiologist uses information from these tests when programming hearing aids to ensure patient comfort in all listening situations.
December 28, 2011
Hearing aids follow Murphy’s Rules of Reasoning. That is, when something is going to go wrong, it will happen at the most inopportunetime. However, there are some simple things you can do when your hearing aid doesn’t seem to work properly.
The most common reason a hearing aid will not work is that it’s plugged with earwax or other debris. A plug of wax will prevent the sound from escaping from the speaker port of an in-the-ear aid or the earmold of a behind-the-ear aid, and you’ll think the aid is dead. However, you can remove the wax plug with the brush or wax loop that came with your hearing aids. If you don’t have cleaning tools, you can use the pointed end of a straight pin to gently dig the wax out.
For those of you who have in-the-ear hearing aids that have wax guard filters installed, the cleaning process is slightly different. The filters are the tiny white plugs that fit into the end of the hearing aid that you insert into your ear canal. Replacement filters are in a 2-inch by 3-inch white or gray packet. When you snap open the top of the packet, you’ll find some black sticks.
Remove one of the sticks and you’ll notice a small white piece on the tip. This is the replacement filter. Take out the old filter with the flattened end of the black stick by pushing it into the old filter and pulling it straight out of the aid. Then, flip over the stick and gently slide the replacement filter into the spot the plugged filter occupied. Usually, this is all that it takes to get your instrument functioning again.
For behind-the-ear users, the problem is often a moisture plug inside of the tubing where the tube inserts into the earmold. You can break the moisture bubble by holding the upper portion of the aid firmly where the earmold tubing attaches to your instrument. Shake it two or three times, as if you were shaking down an old-fashioned thermometer. This force will usually break the moisture bubble and you’ll be back in business.
Of course, if these remedies don’t work, please call (323) 463-7109) or e-mail our office. We’re always ready to help.