DEGREE OF HEARING
A hearing loss is described in terms of degree of loss.
The hearing loss is plotted
on a graph called an Audiogram and is reported as a function of frequency or pitch
and decibels or intensity. An Audiogram is a chart which records the hearing
response of each ear from 125 Hz to 8000 Hz, which is the range most essential
for speech perception. Hearing response is unique for each patient.
The most common type of
hearing loss is called "sensorineural" or "nerve deafness".
A common age-related sensorineural loss primarily affects high-frequency sounds.
This condition makes it difficult to understand the speech of women and children
and leads to confusion of high-frequency consonant sounds such as "sh",
"f" and "s". These are the people who say "I can hear,
but just can't understand the words.
Hearing aids are the
most common form of help for a person affected by sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing aids can selectively amplify sounds in the frequency range of the
patients hearing loss. Just as eyeglasses must be prescribed specifically for a
person's visual loss, so should a hearing aid be custom programmed to provide
the best possible hearing improvement.
In the Audiogram, the horizontal axis shows frequency in Hz. The vertical
axis shows hearing loss in decibels (dB). Normal hearing is the 0 dB level. The
degree of handicap is considered mild at 20 dB, moderate at 40 dB, severe at 60
dB, and profound at 80 dB.
loss is plotted on a graph called an Audiogram and is reported as a function of
frequency or pitch and decibels or intensity. It records the hearing response of
each ear from 125 Hz, which is the range most essential for speech hearing.
Hearing response is unique for each patient. The Audiogram demonstrates the
position of everyday common sounds and speech information relative to pitch and
loudness. On the conversational speech level, many of the consonants are high
pitched sounds and very soft. Especially the 'th', 'f' 'sh' and 's' sounds.
These sounds are often misheard by individuals with hearing loss, but a hearing
aid can often improve the clarity of these sounds.