Hearing Within the Normal Range | Blog | Nardelli Audiology

Hearing Within the Normal Range

By Melissa Carnes Rose, Au.D. January 17, 2022
Hearing Within the Normal Range - Nardelli Audiology Blog

We know the definition of hearing loss, but we are often unaware of what constitutes normal hearing. When we have our hearing examined, we are tested on various different levels of sound. It is important to know what these measurements mean for our hearing health.

We often measure our hearing ability in hertz (Hz). This measurement assesses the pitch or frequency in which we are able to hear. The volume level that we are able to hear is assessed in decibels (dB). Our overall ability to hear is measured using the hearing levels in decibels (dBHL).

A hearing test normally measures your threshold of hearing in a variety of sound situations. Normal hearing usually occurs in the range of 10-25 dBHL. This means that some of us have the ability to measure below 0dBHL, which does not mean that we have superpower hearing! It only means that we can hear faint sounds that the average person cannot hear but is audible within the normal hearing range.

The measurement of dBHL may seem a bit confusing, but is actually a relative unit that denotes the exponential power of our hearing. For example, 10dBHL is actually ten times more intense compared to 0dBHL, whereas 20dBL is 100 times more intense (not 20 times). Similarly, 30dBHL means that our hearing is 1,000 more intense than a 0dBHL reading. A simple change from 20dBHL to 10dBHL can mean a drastic drop in your ability to hear.

Hearing loss is a gradual process that often takes years to manifest itself. Think about some of the daily problems you may have. Having trouble hearing people when they converse or even having been unable to hear the doorbell or the telephone ring can indicate hearing loss.

People around us often notice our hearing loss before we do since they have trouble communicating with us. People may complain that your television volume is too loud or that they constantly need to repeat themselves to you. They may be irritated when you keep asking them to speak up or stop mumbling.

You may have trouble hearing high pitched sounds such as the chirping of a bird or the laughter or a child. You may even hear only parts of conversations or provide inappropriate answers to questions that you may not have heard correctly.

Hearing loss is easily treatable through the use of hearing aids. Waiting too long can cause severe damage to your hearing, which is why timely intervention is recommended.

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