Complex Auditory Disability
Hearing assessment in its most basic manner is a measurement of the ‘faintest sound that can be heard’. It is a test of minimal detection using pure tone sounds.
The pure tone audiogram reflects the detection of sounds in dB and is measured against the frequencies of speech (250Hz – 8000Hz).
Since in ‘real’ life we rarely hear pure tones, usually they are of the most complex nature speech, measuring using pure tone sounds does not always reflect the nature of a complex hearing loss.
Complex hearing disability is inclusive of:
- Unilateral hearing loss or difference
- Hearing loss with significant tinnitus
- Hearing loss with loudness sensitivity (recruitment)
- Fluctuating hearing loss
- Mixed featured losses with mechanical (conductive) involvement
- Hearing thresholds disproportionate to hearing discrimination
- Normal hearing detection but with poor hearing (auditory) processing
Measurements of such complexities quite often require further testing. Sometimes the hearing testing will involve wearing prescribed hearing aids giving a ‘functional threshold’ whilst others will involve measuring distortion or discrimination using speech material.
Audiologists specialise in measuring hearing and use several measurement methods to establish where the hearing problem lies. On most occasions the patient history and most basic test are all that is required.