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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > Hearing Test: Results and Values
      Category : Health Centers > Ears and Hearing Disorders

Hearing Test

Alternate Names : Audiogram, Audiometry

Hearing Test | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). A soft sound, such as normal speech, ranges from 5 to 10 dB. A loud sound, such as a jet plane taking off nearby, is about 180 dB. Loud music, such as rock concerts, can reach 80 to 120 dB. Sounds louder than 85 dB can cause hearing loss.

A person with normal hearing can detect low tones (frequencies of 64 cps, or cycles per second) at 1 to 2 dB and high tones (around 11,500 cps) at 10 dB. Most tones in between these extremes can be heard at less than 10 dB. If a person cannot detect pure tones below 10 dB, some hearing loss may be present.

Conditions that may lead to hearing loss are:

  • acoustic neuroma, which is a noncancerous growth of the acoustic nerve in the ear canal
  • acoustic trauma, which is hearing loss caused by loud noise that occurs slowly over time
  • age-related hearing loss, which is hearing loss that occurs as a natural result of aging
  • Alport's syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that consists of nerve-related deafness and kidney problems
  • labyrinthitis, or inflammation of the inner ear canals
  • Meniere's disease, which is a disease of the inner ear that causes dizziness, ringing in the ear, and nerve-related deafness
  • occupational hearing loss, which is hearing loss that occurs as a result of noise or other factors on the job
  • otosclerosis, which is abnormal bone formation in the inner ear
  • ruptured or perforated eardrum

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    Hearing Test: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: David T. Moran, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 05/29/01

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