Understanding your Audiogram
A variety of tests can be used to determine the degree, type and configuration of your individual hearing difficulties.
Pure Tone Audiometry
The key hearing test for identifying hearing thresholds and involves listening to frequency specific beeps and whistles (called pure tones)and signalling when you can hear them. Pure tone audiometry uses both air and bone conduction audiometry
An extension of the hearing check, also marked on an audiogram, pure tone audiometry involves listening to a range of beeps and whistles, called pure tones, and signalling when you can hear them.
Air Conduction – is measured by pure tones played through headphones. The sounds go via the air, down the ear canal, through the middle ear and to the very delicate cochlea in the inner ear.
Bone Conduction – tests the sensitivity of the cochlea by placing a small vibrator on the mastoid bone behind the ear. Bypassing the middle ear sounds travel through the bones of the skull to the cochlea and hearing nerves.
Both air and bone conduction tests will indicate if hearing loss stems from inner, middle or outer ear in technical terms sensorineural or conductive hearing loss.
Tympanometry is not a hearing test but is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear, eardrum mobility and conduction bones through creation of air pressure variation in the ear canal. Tympanometry can indicate the location of a blockage responsible for hearing loss and if medical treatment is required.
Speech Discrimination Tests
A speech discrimination test assesses how well you understand words. When hearing is damaged, often more than sound volume or quality is affected. In many cases the sound quality can be distorted.
This test measures the level of distortion. Poor speech distortion means voices are distorted and not loud enough.