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Learning About Abnormal Hearing Test Results

What is an abnormal hearing test result?

Your audiologist will share your hearing test results with you. You can get abnormal results even if you feel your hearing is good.
Hearing test results that are not within normal limits will show:

  • how serious the hearing loss is.
  • how you hear different tones, frequencies, and speech in each ear.
  • where in the ear the hearing loss is.

All of this information will show if the hearing loss is temporary or permanent.

What are some different types of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent.

  • In conductive hearing loss, sound is blocked before it reaches the inner ear. This type of hearing loss may be temporary or reversible. For example, a buildup of wax in the ear or an ear infection can cause hearing loss that goes away with treatment.
  • In sensorineural hearing loss, sound reaches the inner ear. But a problem in the inner ear or in the nerves that allow you to hear prevents proper hearing. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent. Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise over time is an example of this type of hearing loss. Another example is age-related hearing loss.
  • In mixed hearing loss, you have both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Hearing loss can range from mild to profound.

What can you do?

  • If your hearing loss is caused by a problem that can be treated, your audiologist will refer you to your family doctor or a specialist. After treatment, they may recommend a follow up hearing test.
  • If your hearing loss is permanent, you and your audiologist will talk about how this hearing loss will affect you and how you might be able to manage your hearing loss. This can include ways to make communication easier and hearing technology options (like a hearing aid).
  • Different hearing technologies like hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone conduction hearing devices, remote microphone systems, and warning systems are available for different hearing losses. You and your audiologist will discuss options that work best for you.
  • Tell the people in your life about your hearing loss. This can make communication easier for you and them.
  • Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your hearing loss is getting worse.

Where can you learn more?

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