Standard pure-tone hearing tests accurately diagnose most hearing loss. However, some people experience problems hearing, yet their pure-tone hearing test results come back normal. Their condition is referred to as hidden hearing loss.
What is a Pure Tone Audiometry Test?
Pure tone audiometry tests use air conduction to measure your ability to hear sounds at various frequencies and volumes. Your results are charted on an audiogram, which is a graph that plots data about your hearing loss by comparing frequency with loudness. This helps your audiologist determine your hearing threshold.
Why Doesn’t Hidden Hearing Loss Show Up on Audiogram?
Most sensorineural hearing loss is due to damage to the hair cells of the inner ear. These cells play a critical role in our ability to hear. Once they are damaged, they cannot be repaired. However, in people with hidden hearing loss, these hair cells remain undamaged. This is why hearing loss doesn’t show up on their audiogram.
If you experience hidden hearing loss, it’s likely that your auditory nerve fibers are damaged instead. This can interfere with the connection between your brain and ears, causing hearing difficulties.
How to Diagnose Hidden Hearing Loss
Other tests are needed to diagnose hidden hearing loss. One option is for you to take a “speech in noise” test that evaluates your ability to separate speech from background noise.
An auditory brainstem response (ABR) test is another option to test for hidden hearing loss. In an ABR test, electrodes are attached to your head, scalp or earlobes, and you are given headphones to wear. Your brainwave activity is measured in response to sounds of varying intensities.
Studies have shown that hearing loss of any kind can negatively impact quality of life. It’s important for those with hidden hearing loss to find the right care to manage their condition.
Your audiologist might recommend hearing aids or assistive listening devices to help treat your condition. Additionally, there are steps to take steps to make hearing easier in your day-to-day life.
- Pick quieter spots to meet up with friends or go to popular Tampa restaurants like Haven earlier to beat the crowds.
- Sit up close in lecture halls, work meetings or anywhere else where it’s important for you to hear the speaker.
- Try your best not to isolate. Hearing loss can be a frustrating and lonely experience. However, not only can isolation be bad for your mental well-being, but it can also worsen hearing loss as well.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing specialists, call Kampsen Hearing today.