Pure Tone Audiometry

Many people find booking a hearing test to be a daunting experience as they are uncomfortable with the idea of their hearing declining and may worry they won’t understand the results of their hearing test.

Understanding the results of your hearing test, however, doesn’t have to be overwhelming and is crucial to ensuring you receive the right treatment for your hearing loss. In this blog post, we will discuss the pure tone audiometry hearing test, what a pure tone audiogram is and how to interpret audiogram results.

What is a pure tone audiometry test?

A pure tone audiometry test is a standard hearing test that measures the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies. The test is conducted in a soundproof room and uses headphones or earbuds. During the test, you will hear a series of tones at different frequencies and volume levels. You will be asked to indicate when you hear a sound, and an audiologist will record the results.

What is a pure tone audiogram?

A pure tone audiogram is a graph that displays the results of your pure tone audiometry test. The graph displays your hearing threshold levels for different frequencies. The hearing threshold level is the softest sound you can hear at a specific frequency. The frequencies tested range from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz.

The hearing threshold levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the number of decibels, the louder the sound. The audiogram will also show the normal range of hearing . This can help you understand if you have hearing loss. If you are experiencing hearing loss, based on your hearing test results an audiologist may recommend a hearing aid or another form of treatment.

How do you interpret audiogram results?

Audiogram interpretation can be confusing, but your audiologist will explain your results in detail. There are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways that transmit sound to the brain. This type of hearing loss is permanent and can be caused by ageing, exposure to loud noise and some medical conditions. 

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the middle ear, such as a blockage or damage to the eardrum. This type of hearing loss is often temporary and can be caused by infections, allergies, and some medical conditions. 

Mixed hearing loss occurs when there is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. 

What are decibel levels?

Decibel levels are used to measure the loudness of sounds. The decibel scale is logarithmic, meaning that an increase of 10 dB represents a tenfold increase in sound intensity. For example, a sound that measures 70 dB is ten times louder than a sound that measures 60 dB.

The normal range of hearing for adults is between 0 and 25 dB. Mild hearing loss is between 26 and 40 dB, moderate hearing loss is between 41 and 70 dB, and severe hearing loss is between 71 and 90 dB. Profound hearing loss is above 90 dB.

When should you book an audiometric test?

If you’re experiencing hearing loss, a pure tone audiometry test may be necessary to determine the extent of the loss and the best course of treatment. Here are some signs that may indicate you need a pure tone audiometry test:

• Difficulty hearing conversations in noisy environments

• Struggling to understand speech on the phone or television 

• Frequently asking people to repeat themselves

• Feeling like people are mumbling or not speaking clearly

• Turning up the volume on electronic devices to levels others find too loud

• Feeling like others are not speaking loud enough

• Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, like birds chirping or doorbells ringing

• Tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing in the ears

At Almond Hearing, we understand that interpreting your hearing test results can be overwhelming. If you have any questions about your audiogram results or if you would like to schedule a hearing test, please contact us at Almond Hearing. Our team of audiologists is here to help you every step of the way.