Hi peoples!!! Wow, it’s been forever… Anyway, I realized I’ve been mentioning I have a hearing loss along with talking about hearing loss-related topics, but I’ve never actually explained what my particular hearing loss is. So, here goes!
First of all, I’d like to show you a digital copy of my audiogram that I made several months ago:
Ok, the first thing you should know is the red line with circles (and red brackets) shows the results for my right ear, and the blue line with X’s (and blue brackets) shows the results for my left ear. The only point where my ears hear at the same dB level is at 3,000 Hz, which is also the only point at which I hear normally in my left ear.
Which frequencies (Hz) are tested really depends on the audiologist, and probably on the types of tests conducted. For example, a hearing screening usually only tests three or four frequencies, generally 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, 2,000 Hz, and 4,000 Hz. However, a basic hearing test will include 250 Hz (middle C) and 8,000 Hz. My audiologist has, on my last two appointments, tested 9 different frequencies– the six mentioned above, and also three in-between ones: 1,500 Hz, 3,000 Hz, and 6,000 Hz. Some audiologists may test even more frequencies than these 9– it just depends.
I explained this in a previous post, but I’ll explain it again briefly. There are different levels of hearing loss, and each one has a different effect on what can and can’t be understood when talking to someone. Someone with a very mild hearing loss may be able to hear all or most speech sounds, and therefore most of their difficulty understanding occurs in noisy surroundings, whereas someone with a moderate hearing loss will end up missing many, if not all, speech sounds, so while they may be able to hear your voice, they won’t be able to understand what you are saying.
(The reason I didn’t include a picture of the speech banana or other things in previous posts was because I didn’t know I could do so. My apologies for posts filled with boring “text only” blather. It’s soooo much easier to understand something when you can just look at it. I’ll try to have more pictures in the future.)
This is a speech banana. A speech banana gives a general placement on an audiogram for the pitch and loudness of different speech sounds. If you look at my audiogram, you will see that the line is around 40 decibels (literally the border line between mild and moderate hearing loss) in both ears for the first three points on the graph, and then the right ear is pretty much fine while the left ear rises, peaks at a normal hearing level at 3,000 Hz, then falls back down. That means that from 250 Hz to 1000 Hz, I can’t hear sounds below 40 dB. This is why I have never been able to hear/find my heartbeat with a stethoscope– the heartbeat is a very soft, low-pitched sound.
As you can see, the two speech bananas shown here have differences. This is the case with several bananas I’ve seen, so I pretty much ignore the “specific placement” of a sound and just go with the general area. I prefer the first banana for actually using as a reference for the sounds, but the second banana has a nice chart of the basic levels of hearing loss shown on the right side of the graph, so I decided to put both of them on here for reference purposes.
My left ear literally has two measured frequencies with normal hearing, then plunges straight from a normal of 10 dB at 3,000 Hz to a mild hearing loss of 30 at 4,000 Hz, which continues “downhill” from there until reaching a moderate loss of 50 dB at 8,000 Hz. In my right ear, I have mostly normal hearing after 1,000 Hz, with a borderline-mild loss at 8,000 Hz.
The configuration of my hearing loss (in both ears, surprisingly) means that I can hear most speech sounds well. The audiologist at my first hearing test when I was seven was surprised that I could speak well. Usually hearing loss causes people to have muffled speech, simply because they can’t hear all the speech sounds. I attribute my own good pronunciation to the fact that the majority of my family members have well-projecting voices (not extra loud, necessarily, but easier to hear) and good enunciation.
Some problems I run into because of my hearing loss include:
- Difficulty talking on the telephone
- Difficulty with conversation in a noisy room
- Difficulty understanding loudspeakers (though that’s gotten a bit better recently for some reason, at least in some places)
- Difficulty understanding when someone talks to me from another room
- Difficulty hearing and focusing on something at the same time (this is something I only just realized, but it’s true. For example, in an art class I would have to either give full attention to what I was doing, give full attention to the teacher, or give partial attention to both. The same applies to taking notes–I tend to either give full attention to my writing or to the speaker.)
- Difficulty understanding someone who speaks with a soft voice. (I once stayed at a friend’s house for a couple days, and the ENTIRE FAMILY HAS SOFT VOICES. That was an interesting experience.)
Anyway, that’s a little bit about me and my hearing loss. If you happen to have questions, feel free to ask me in the comments. Don’t be shy. 🙂
Have an awesome day! God bless!