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Audiogram Review

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Typical Audiogram graph

After the annual hearing screening is completed results are compared to the baseline to determine if an STS exists. If an STS exists a follow-up hearing screening is allowed within 30 days. If the STS persists a diagnostic audiogram by an industrial audiologist should be scheduled.

Audiograms

Audiologists are professionals who conduct hearing tests and specialize in evaluating hearing loss. An audiogram is a graph that shows hearing sensitivity. Along the top of the graph are frequencies noted in Hertz (Hz). A frequency is also often referred to as pitch. The higher the frequency, the higher the pitch. Along the vertical side of the graph is intensity noted in decibels (dBA). Sound becomes more intense as the decibel values increase. A person may have some or all frequencies affected with hearing loss.

Degrees of Hearing Loss

Those with mild hearing loss (26-45 dB) typically hear one-on-one conversation if they can see the speaker’s face and are listening at close range. With a mild hearing loss, there may be difficulty hearing and understanding soft speech or speech from a distance. Understanding conversation in noisy backgrounds also may be difficult. For young children who are learning speech and language, even a mild hearing loss can have serious effects on speech and language development.

Persons with moderate hearing loss (45-65 dB) will have difficulty hearing and understanding conversational levels of speech, even in quiet backgrounds. Listening in noise is extremely difficult.

With severe hearing loss (66-85 dB), hearing is difficult in all situations. Speech may only be detected if a speaker is talking loudly and at close range.

Those with profound hearing loss (≥ 90 dB) do not hear loud speech or environmental sounds.