Audiograms

23 02 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you …

… my left ear!

… and my right ear!

These pretty graphs illustrate my hearing (or lack of it). The vertical axis charts loudness (or level of sounds) in decibels. Loud sounds are at the bottom, quiet sounds are at the top. Conversation is 65 db, a jet taking off 25 metres away is 120 db.

The horizontal axis charts sound frequencies (or different pitches of sounds) in hertz. The higher the number, the higher the pitch of the sound. Low-pitched sounds are towards the left (e.g. bass drum, tuba, ‘m’ ‘i’ ‘o’), high-pitched sounds are towards the right (e.g. birds, triangle playing, ‘th’ ‘f’ ‘s’). A piano’s middle C notes is 250 Hz, a telephone ringing is 3000 Hz.

A person with perfect hearing will obtain a test result of a line up to 20 db.

Spot my grey ski slope lines. I cannot hear anything above those lines, all I can hear are sounds like lawnmowers, chainsaws and firecrackers. All the letters in the grey area (known as the ‘speech banana’) are the sounds you hear in speech, so I am completely missing out on conversations.

With hearing aids jammed in, I can hear a little more – they don’t give you back perfect hearing like glasses do!

Going hand in hand with a sensorineural hearing loss is recruitment, explained very well here by Dr Bauman. My recruitment lines plot along the bottom of my graphs (so they are not shown here). This means I perceive some sounds to be louder than they actually are. When I first had my current digital hearing aids, I couldn’t BEAR the sound of someone putting a plate on the table or ripping the sellotape off the roll.

It also means I find it hard to discriminate between sounds, so I find it hard to understand what people say. This is why I can hear, but not understand. And there’s nothing the audiologist can do to correct this. I used to get very annoyed when my family would say ‘You can hear perfectly well when you want to!’ when I had correctly guessed the snippet that had been said! To me, speech always sounds like ‘baby talk’ – it sounds like gibberish and means nothing. This is why the lipreading comes in so handy!

The thing that has helped me most of all hasn’t been a great audiologist, accurate hearing test, or quality hearing aids. It’s been a positive attitude and two fingers to anyone who has said ‘You can’t do it’ just because of a hearing loss.

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22 responses

25 02 2008
MM

Not sure where I stand, probably south of the jumbo jet I think, you’d need a longer chart for me…. 🙂 I never got the hang of these charts, surely you’re deaf or you aren’t and have done with it !

25 02 2008
athina

Hi!

Nice audiograms. Very clear description of hearing condition. We’re almost the same except that I can’t hear the sound of airplanes anymore.

The positive attitude thing, I’m poor in that and I realize I need to improve on that.

25 02 2008
macian

will need to dig mines out or ask for a copy, though no fancy bits of machinery in mine, think it may be similar to FOLS.
MM the point of these is to find a suitable aid, or if say a person might be better off with a CI, which is what happened with me, like FOL’s my high pitch tones are non existent, (FOL it was because of this they decided to refer me for a CI, my cochlea is too badly damaged for aids to be any benefit on high tones.) so it’s to help us and them to find out what’s better for each person, and I’ve never got the hang of these damn things either, despite on numerous occasions them attempting to explain, but alas I have the attention span of a goldfish.
i wish it was as easy as”you’re deaf or you aren’t and have done with it ” though i realise you are jesting.

25 02 2008
funnyoldlife

Sounds like we have a similar hearing loss Macian. I was told 20 years ago that I could have a CI if I want it but I said no. Having spoken to someone last week, who told me in great detail how it has benefited her, I am now researching CIs and their benefits, and may consider going for an assessment. *shock*
Watch this space!

25 02 2008
Steve

Similar to my last pre-CI audiogram, FOL, which I still have a copy of. Your audiogram is definitely in the CI-qualifying range, though there are various other factors taken into account as well.

25 02 2008
funnyoldlife

That’s interesting Steve. How have you found it – much improvement? How about music, conversation, phone, tv?

26 02 2008
lette

I just had my operation and cant wait to see my audiograms, because my hearing is definately messed up even more!

26 02 2008
funnyoldlife

Lette – I thought you need healing time then they ‘switch you on’ then you have rehabilitation time which takes months? You brain needs to get used to the sounds don’t they. Have you got a nice big bandage on your head, are you ok? ((big hugs))

26 02 2008
Steve

Massive improvement, FOL.

Conversations are much easier as I don’t have to lip-read anymore.

I can use a phone. Not everyone can, and I didn’t expect to be able to, so please don’t go into it expecting to be able to use the phone, but I am one of the lucky ones.

Music is another thing that you shouldn’t raise your expectations about because the main aim is to improve speech and environmental perception. But again I’m one of the lucky ones and I enjoy music. It took a long time to “train” my brain to hear music again, but it works now. Long hours with an MP3 player did the trick.

As for TV, I prefer to listen to TV with the aid of a wireless neck loop because it gives me better quality sound and independent volume control. Nowadays I never use subtitles on programmes like the news sport, documentaries and chat shows. I use them on films and drama because it makes it easier, though I can get by without them if necessary.

26 02 2008
macian

that’s about how much the hospital told me steve, soem people ahve alot more success than others, for me it would be able to hear some of the higher pitched tones to enable me to lipread better, that would for me be classed as a success, although I miss music, communication is far more important to me, so I for one would settle for that

27 02 2008
funnyoldlife

Steve – that DOES sound like a massive improvement. How did music sound through your hearing aids pre-CI? And how does it compare now?

Macian – not sure if I could settle for no music as I’m almost permanently plugged into my iPod (am I damaging my hearing?!). But I am having great difficulty lipreading the ordinary man in the street. What a quandary.

27 02 2008
macian

yes I know what you mean FOL, but I suppose it got more important when i started my own business, it’s so bloomin frustrating trying to hear some people. which of course i need to. most of them I stuggle with are women with the higher tone sin their voice, but at the same time women are alot more understanding, men tend to wave you off after a few tries.
but i love music and to be able to follow it again would be bliss, hell i’d even start singing again, when I lost music it was around the verve era, of which I’m glad of as I love them, but like the song goes, it’s a bittersweet symphony!

27 02 2008
Steve

I effectively gave up music several years before I got a CI because I couldn’t recognise tunes anymore. As I couldn’t hear anything about about 500Hz all I could hear was the low notes and drums. To give an idea of how long it was since I gave up music, I didn’t buy my first audio CD until 3 years ago. Prior to that the last time I’d bought any music had been on vinyl.

The CI works for up to 8kHz, but as I’ve said, it isn’t primarily designed for music so it takes a lot of practice to get used to it, if at all. I started off with early Beatles songs, which are were very familiar and musically quite simple. I’d play them over and over again until they started to sound like I thought they should. Now I can do music that I’ve never heard before as well as familiar stuff.

27 02 2008
funnyoldlife

To clarify my (possible!) change in opinion of CIs. Martine’s hearing loss was more profound than mine. She had her CI 4 years ago and told me that some time after, she put her hearing aid in her other ear to compare sound processing. She said the difference in what she was hearing through her CI and through her hearing aid was so vast, the CI so superior, that she doesn’t now bother wearing a hearing aid in the other ear. She had thought, prior to getting a CI, that she could hear reasonably well through her hearing aids. But her CI made her realise that what she had been hearing through her hearing aids was, basically, cr*p.

She can definitely hear music/TV/radio better/clearer than before. If subtitles are missing for 1-2 lines she can follow without, but not for the whole programme. She can book taxis, order pizzas… something she never could do before. I can’t hear on the phone at all and my speech discrimination scores are zero, so I’m really impressed with Martine’s result.

6 03 2008
tutleymutley

Wow, looking at your audiograms, I feel really well off, FOL – I’m still very much in the hearing world, can use phones with only slight difficulty etc.
I’ll be interested to read what you think of the CI – the technology has come on in leaps and bounds it would seem.

9 03 2008
lette

im fine again, but the hearing will stay this low, if not get worse, but no big bandage thank god 🙂

9 03 2008
funnyoldlife

Lette – what’s your audiogram like now? Is your CI much of an improvement?

11 03 2008
lette

I didnt get a CI!! 🙂 I got the T-Tube removed in my ear! so nothing put in instead of it, except a big hole in my eardrum! I have the wrong type of hearing loss for a CI, and i dunno if id go for one, if I had the write type of hearing loss to get one, i dunno why im a bit reluctant to giv into the idea of them!

17 04 2008
BML

That’s good, the audiogram ON the diagram sheet – mine are seperate pieces of paper.

Have to say though that yours looks better than mine – mine bumps along 110 for right ear and 120 for left ear.

Slight spike in low bases but dont go beyond 90 and take me from profound into severe! So no idea of CI might be worth it, never considered it or been asked about it, and not sure brave enough to consider it !

17 04 2008
funnyoldlife

Hi BML, looks like you’ll be a candidate for a CI then. Why not go for an assessment, even if just to find out more? At least then you’ll know if it will be worth it or not.

28 12 2009
Dan Schwartz

Tina,

You don’t have a ski-slope hearing loss, typical of noise-induce damage. A ski-slope loss is normal or near-normal hearing in the low frequencies, and then it falls off a cliff, turning down at 1500, 2000, or even 3000 Hertz.

What you have is a profound loss in your left ear and severe-to-profound loss in your right ear. And, I don’t think even a new Phonak Naida with “SoundRecover” frequency compression & shifting on your right ear would buy you much of anything, especially with recruitment.

Now that I’ve seen your audiograms, I’d suggest an Advanced Bionics implant with the Helix array in a perimodiolar placement (if the CI surgeon is skilled enough), possibly with the electrode placed 1.0mm past standard depth, i.e. electrode 1 will stimulate and be MAP’d to 250 Hz, not the standard 333 Hz in Soundwave. Then, it will be a question whether your performance will be better with 120P or 120S (parallel or sequential) stim.~

(copied & sent via FB)

28 12 2009
funnyoldlife

Thanks very much Dan!

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