Hearing loss is an invisible handicap. You may not realize how much of a loss you have simply because you don't know what you are missing. Often it will be someone else who will suggest to you that you have your hearing tested.
Hearing testing begins with an audiogram. Your hearing sensitivity will be tested at a number of different pitches. We will be able to determine if your hearing is within normal limits for your age, or if you are demonstrating some degree of hearing loss. Being aware of a problem is the first step in helping you cope with it.
The various sounds in speech occur at different pitches. For instance, the sounds made by the vowels, such as /ah/, /uh/, /oh/, etc. are lower-pitched sounds, while /s/, /sh/, /th/, /t/, /f/ are higher-pitched sounds. If you have a hearing loss in a particular pitch range, you might hear other sounds perfectly well, but would not detect the sounds in the pitch range of your loss. This usually results in a perception that speech is loud enough, it just isn't clear. Your word recognition ability is also assessed during a hearing evaluation.
If you have some degree of hearing loss, anything that interferes with the volume of the sound getting to the eardrum will make it more difficult for you to hear and understand. For instance, if the person speaking has a softer than normal voice, if they are a distance from you, or if there is competing noise in the room, you will have more difficulty understanding the person speaking.
If you have ever had a noisy job or hobby (such as shooting guns, listening to loud music, or working with power tools or noisy machinery), you probably have some hearing loss as a result. If you do have a hearing loss, knowing that will allow you to make some adjustments to help improve your communications and interactions with others. In some instances, a referral to physician might be indicated; in others, you might wish to consider the use of hear