Learn About Hearing Loss

How We Hear

Sound waves, which are really vibrations in the air around us, are collected by the pinna on each side of our head and are funneled into the ear canals. These sound waves make the eardrum vibrate. The eardrum is so sensitive to sound vibrations in the ear canal that it can detect even the faintest sound as well as replicating even the most complex of sound vibration patterns.

The eardrum vibrations caused by sound waves move the chain of tiny bones (the ossicles – malleus, incus, and stapes) in the middle ear transferring the sound vibrations into the cochlea of the inner ear.

About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be experienced in varying degrees, such as mild, moderate, moderately-severe, severe or profound. Additionally, this loss can also vary depending on pitches or frequencies. A series of hearing tests can determine the amount of loss you experience compared to an average of many other adult listeners with typical hearing.

The volume of sounds you hear is measured in decibels (dB), 15-20 dB being the softest whisper and 120 dB being a jet engine. The softest sounds one can hear are called thresholds. Normal hearing thresholds for adults are considered 0-25 dB across the range of frequencies tested. Speech testing is also conducted as a part of this series of evaluations and helps to assess the levels of particular words you can hear clearly. These tests can help determine the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, which can be categorized conductive, sensorineural or mixed.

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