The audiometric test produces the data needed to make an audiogram. Based on the information provided during the test, the Hearing specialist can determine the level of hearing loss. An audiogram is a visual map of your hearing. Those working in noise-intense professions, such as construction or rock concerts, are often advised, and sometimes required, to get an audiogram two or three times a year.
The test is administered by a hearing specialist, and takes place in a soundproof room using an audiometer. You’ll be asked to remove any jingling jewelry or hearing devices that might alter the audiogram. Finally, the specialist will ask you to place a pair of oversized earphones on your head.
To establish a baseline of hearing, the specilist manipulates the audiometer pitch and intensity in several ways. Firstly, she’ll reduce both the volume and pitch until you report no longer hearing anything. Then, she’ll adjust the pitch and volume separately. This process is repeated in each ear. When you indicate a threshold level (the point when you can no longer hear anything) that decibel level is recorded and used to construct your audiogram. The more low-volume and low-pitch sounds you can accurately hear, the better your hearing.
After establishing a threshold for your hearing, the specialist will introduce different sounds over various levels of background noise. This is designed to test how effectively your ear can filter noise. Those with difficulty hearing struggle to filter information accurately, particularly with the added obstacle of background noise. Conversational noise, between 500 to 3000 Hz and 20 to 50 decibels, also occurs during the test. The specialist adjusts the various levels of background noise from a single constant tone to the varying tones of a conversation between two people who could, presumably, be at a nearby table. You’ll be asked to recount specific words or syllables that you overhear.
The resulting audiogram is a visual depiction of the entire test that takes into account these averages and variations.