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Bad Hearing occurs when sound signals do not get to the brain and doing a test with an Audiometer to help detect problems with your hearing. Bad hearing happens as a result of repeated exposure to loud, continuous noise with the biggest single cause being age. Other causes includes genetics and ear infections. It can be temporary or permanent and can affect anyone of any group young or old.

Third on the most common health issue in the U.S and growing, with an estimated 36 million Americans making being tested for deafness or hearing impairment. Bad hearing can be sudden, but it often develops gradually with most people losing a small amount around age 40 and increasing further as you age. By 80years, it becomes quite substantial.

Sounds alter based on their volume and rate of sound wave pulsation.

As your hearing deteriorates, high decibel sounds, such as woman or child’s voice may become difficult to hear. Consonants such as “th”, “s” may also become harder making understanding speech in noisy area nearly incomprehensible. The two main types of bad hearing

1. Conductive Bad hearing: occurs when sound cannot traverse freely from your outer ear to your inner hear most times due to a blockage namely build-up of fluid from an ear infection, earwax or glue ear.

2. Sensorineural bad hearing: occurs when there is a damage to your inner ear or the auditory nerve due to injury or aging. Having both also possible, a condition known as mixed hearing loss.

Symptoms includes:

  • Trouble hearing when people talk and misunderstanding them
  • Often telling people to repeat what they say
  • Listening to music or TV at volumes often higher than what others require
  • Difficulty keeping up with conversations with multiple people speaking at once
  • Ache or discharge from your ear(s) if you have an infection
  • Continuous hissing or ringing sounds in the ears known as tinnitus

The Audiometer Test at Home:-

Before visiting a doctor or hearing professional, you can do a simple online test called an Audiometry test. These are usually made up of spoken words or numbers played in different frequencies that you click on to see if you can hear them or not. It will then give you a rating of hearing loss. 

If you visit the doctor, your GP will examine you and ask you about your symptoms. He or she may also ask for your medical history. A hearing test may be done, or you may be referred to either an otolaryngologist (a specialist doctor in ear, nose and throat disorders), an audiologist (hearing specialist) or an audio vestibular physician (hearing, balance and communication problems specialist). The following tests may be conducted.

  • Whispered speech test: Your doctor will come behind you and whisper some words to you and ask you to repeat them to test if you can hear anything. This will be done on each ear one after the other.
  • Tuning fork test: Dissimilar tuning forks can be used to test your hearing at varying frequencies. They can also help ascertain the type of bad hearing you have.
  • Pure tone audiometry.
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAE).
  • Auditory brainstem response.

Basically this exam tests your capacity to hear sounds. Sounds alter based on their volume and rate of sound wave pulsation. When sound waves arouse the inner ear nerves then hearing occurs which then moves along the nerve pathways to the brain. An audiometer test presents a more exact measurement of hearing. You will wear an earphone attached to the audiometer.

Pure tones of ordered concentration will be passed to your ear one after the other. You will then be asked to do some series of things to indicate when you hear a sound such as raise your hand or press a button. The least amount needed to hear each tone is graphed. A device used to test bone conduction called bone oscillator is positioned against the bone at the back of each ear. This test can detect bad hearing very early and can be used you develop hearing issues from any cause.

Audiometer

If you are suffering hearing loss maybe because of damage to the inner ear, a build-up of ear wax, a ruptured ear drum or infection, it’s time to have your hearing tested. An audiometer is basically a machine used for testing the loss of hearing. It provides a painless hearing test that can quickly measure your ability to hear different sounds, pitches and frequencies.

The results will evaluate your hearing to see if you need a hearing aid or surgery to improve the problem. There are a number of products on the market to test your hearing which are affordable and easy to use.

Here is a rundown on some tests available as well as resources and links to give you more information along with support.

Products

There’s so much online info and literature regarding audiometers that it can be a little confusing. It’s important to have the right product for your individual needs. Here’s a list of items using alternative platforms to monitor your hearing levels.

Home Tests – Do-it-yourself audiometer hearing tests can be carried out using standard headphones. No specialist hardware is needed. Home test audiometer kits will give you a true hearing level and accurate reading within minutes. Read here to find out more.

Physician Tests – Doctors and health professionals can also provide audio tests, with quick results. Earphones are connected to a machine that will deliver the tones and sounds of speech to your ears. Take a look here to learn about hearing tests.

Resources and Links

Living with hearing loss: Hearing Loss Association of America: www.hearingloss.org

Genetic Hearing Loss: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery www.entnet.org