Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back from audiologist with unaided/aided audiogram!

Let me call the story in the order of events as happened.

My audiologist's room was in a large building by the intracoastal. We(me and dad) waited on the 6th floor for 20 minutes before my audie made her appearence. While waiting, we filled out some forms and I got a nice view from the window.

I was led into her office room and briefly looked around before she opened the door of the soundproof/anechoic booth/chamber. While looking around, I noticed she has a high end digital audiometer. She got the headphones and placed them on my head/ears. I asked her to make sure they were placed securely, she checked again to confirm. Dad stood next to the audie and watched her set puretones from her audiometer. Great learning experience!

Then she closed the door and 30 seconds later, I heard the first sound quite easily, but not loudly which sounded like "aaaaa" I knew it was 1000Hz. I was wondering why it took 30 seconds, perhaps she started at a low volume and gradually raised it in 5db increments. She tested me several times for repeatability then moved on to the next frequency.

The next tone sounded like "aaaaa" but half an octive higher, 1500Hz. It never got to the point where I could hear it quite easily, it was always faint and barely audible. Then she moved on to 2000Hz and I barely heard anything at all, I think she had to play that tone several times before I responded. Then there was a period of about 2 minutes of silence. From my blurry vision(I removed my glasses prior to the test) I could vaugely make out her hands turning dials and pushing buttons and writing remarks in my audiogram. During those 2 minutes, I strained my ears to try and hear any whistling or high pitched sounds but there was nothing but silence.

Then a low frequency sound came across loud and clear and my hand shot up. Repeat several more times at various volumes, some so faint I wasn't sure if I heard it or not. I did not respond unless I could be positive I heard a sound, I wanted to avoid false positives and not respond to a sound when there actually was none. The audie noted/wrote on my audiogram that the reliability was "good" due to testing repeatability and only responding to actually hearing a sound, even if faint, as long as it's audible to me.

After the puretones, she did various speech tests, all of them unaided with the headphones still on. I didn't really understand a word she said, sometimes I would guess, sometimes I would just call out what it sounded like which was almost exclusively vowels(ooo, oh, ah, eh, sounds) sometimes I would just not respond as I couldn't guess an "ooh" sound among thousands of possible words.

Finally she tested my aided score, something I eagerly awaited! I made sure my volume was on max(which it was) and that my HA molds were properly and firmly rested in my ears. Again I didn't hear any exceptionally high pitched, shrill or whistling sounds. Most sounds were like "ooooo" or "aaaaa" I did hear at one point what sounded like "putt...putt...putt" and I thought she played a 125Hz or lower frequency sound. Later I found out she played a 3000Hz and 4000Hz sound and I "responded" with an aided score of 90db for each. Me and dad agreed that I heard only the low frequency distortion from the speakers. 

 Lastly, the audiologist placed a device on my bony bump behind my ear for a conductive test. I felt a strong vibration at the end that almost sounded like real sound. The audie noted that and says "I know" She did write "NR to conductive test" so my hearing loss is sensorineural since I was born.

The audiometer she used, my dad noticed it goes from 250Hz to 12KHz. He didn't see anything lower, nor was I tested below 250Hz. Some audiometers go down to 125Hz. Above 2000Hz, the max decibals it's capable of decreases. 110db at 250Hz, 120db at 500Hz to 2000Hz, 115db at 3000Hz, 105db at 4000Hz, 90db at 6000Hz, 75db at 8000Hz, 65db at 10KHz, 55db at 12KHz was the best to my dad's knowlege.

The results I got was expected except for 250Hz, I am a little surprised at 80db HL since it was 70db several months ago. I am also surprised im only getting 35db aided at 250Hz. Guess it's time to add more gain to take account my slightly worse hearing. The online aided test I did was fairly accurate, it was off by 10-15db but consistant. I will probably get another hearing exam after I have my HAs reprogrammed for my new audiogram. Thanks for reading the story, feel free to ask questions or offer advice.

Oh by the I left, I said "thanks for your time" my audie smiled and waved bye. At home dad told me my audie was amazed how good/clear my speech was and said most profoundly deaf people can't properly talk. She was also impressed how powerful my HAs are. This got me thinking that many people don't have the right HAs, can't afford better HAs or don't have them programed enough for their hearing loss. I am amazed at how much environmental sounds I hear for how bad my unaided hearing is and feel everyone deserves a chance at good aided hearing. Those who can't afford powerful HAs, insurance really should start covering/paying for them! 
Unaided/aided audiogram on March 24, 2009. Same threshold for both ears. I wear Phonak Naida V UP hearing aids. Need more gain at some frequencies as well as transposition.

3000Hz-8000Hz NR/NR

Unaided speech scores:

Speech reception threshold: NR at 105db
Speech awareness threshold: 90db
Speech discrimination: 4% at 105db
Most comfortable level: greater than 105db

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