Configuration of Hearing Loss

Not all hearing loss is the same. Treatment will depend on what your hearing loss looks like during testing. Audiologists can help.

When you have your hearing tested, the audiologist will use an audiogram to record how you hear. The audiogram will show how loud the sounds need to be at different frequencies for you to hear them. Frequency is the pitch or tone of the sound.

The graph of your hearing on the audiogram will form a shape. This shape is the configuration of hearing loss.

Some examples of how your loss might look include the following:

  • You hear low-pitched sounds at a normal level. But, you need high-pitched sounds to be louder. This is a high-frequency hearing loss, and your graph will show this.
  • You hear both low and high frequencies the same way. Your graph will be flat.

The configuration describes your hearing loss. Some of the ways to describe hearing are as follows.

Here are some of the ways to describe hearing:

  • High-frequency versus low-frequency. This is like the example above, where you either hear high-pitched or low-pitched sounds better.
  • Bilateral versus unilateral. Bilateral means hearing loss in both ears. Unilateral means hearing loss in one ear.
  • Symmetrical versus asymmetrical. Symmetrical means the severity and shape of hearing loss are the same in each ear. Asymmetrical means each ear has a different severity and shape.
  • Progressive versus sudden hearing loss. Progressive means that hearing loss becomes worse over time. Sudden means hearing loss that happens quickly. You should see your doctor right away if you have a sudden hearing loss.
  • Fluctuating versus stable hearing loss. Fluctuating means hearing loss that changes over time. It sometimes gets better, sometimes gets worse. Stable means that your hearing loss has stayed the same.

Learn More About Hearing Loss

More information can be found in our Audiology Information Series [PDF].

To find an audiologist near you, visit ProFind.

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