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Ear Exam
The Hearing Test

A hearing test is conducted using an audiometer. The test precisely measures the extent of the hearing loss. As the extent of the hearing loss may be different in each ear, they are tested separately using headphones. Both the perception of sound and the understanding of speech are evaluated.

Speech Range

Speech consists of vowels and consonants in different frequency (pitch) and loudness categories (see image to the right). A healthy ear easily registers these sounds. When hearing loss is present, a louder level is required. Depending on the degree and progression of the hearing loss, these elements of speech are softer than the normal hearing threshold and are not audible, at least not when spoken at a normal level.

The Hearing Test Results

Hearing loss is measured in decibels hearing level (dBHL). A person who can hear sounds across a range of frequencies at 0 to 19dB is considered to have normal hearing. The thresholds for the different degrees of hearing loss are as follows:


Mild            20 – 39 dBHL

Moderate    40 – 69 dBHL

Severe        70 – 94 dBHL

Profound     95 dBHL and above


We will have checked how well you can hear different types of sound that are high and low in pitch, which vary from loud to soft.  During your hearing test, or audiometric hearing assessment as it is sometimes known, an audiometer

produces sounds of different pitches and volumes.  You will have been asked to indicate during your hearing test when you were able to hear sounds generated.  The minimum loudness of a sound at any frequency that you could hear is represented as the line drawn on the graph opposite.
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