Audiogram Confusion!

Hello everyone!
First of all thank you to everyone who posts on here, the information and support given is invaluable! Thank you so much! So my post is probably going to be long, but here it goes…

I’ve failed hearing buses all throughout childhood because of a multitude of ear infections as a child, and was finally fitted with hearing aids at 24 years old. My first audiogram from 2012 looked like this:

----250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000
L - 20—20—25—35—5---15
---------15—25—35—5---15 <— Bone Conduction
R - 35—40—60—50—15—15
---------15—60—50—15—15 <— Bone Conduction

Bone conduction was pretty close. Unaided Recognition Score L - 88% 72dB and masking 70dB R - 92% 62dB and masking 70dB. Completed by a private audiologist. I was fitted with bilat. resound hearing aids. Which are pretty awesome!

Within the next year, I went back to my audiologist because I was having trouble understanding women talking to me and my tinnitus had gotten much worse. He changed some configurations on my hearing aids and the problems are now resolved! I wanted another hearing test but he says he does them every two years and he doesn’t think my hearing is any worse so it is not needed.

I was curious though and got a hearing test at Costco because I believe my hearing had gotten worse. The next audiogram looked like this:

----250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000
L - 25—20—30—40—20—5
----------0—10—50—5 <— Bone Conduction
R - 45—40—55—50—25—20
-----------0—10—40—0 <— Bone Conduction

Unaided Recognition Score L - 100% 70dB no masking R - 98% 75dB no masking.

Well, I’m not a doctor so I am very confused about these discrepancies in my audiograms. According to these audiograms my hearing has kind of gotten worse and kind of gotten better. Is this possible? And what is up with the bone conduction test? That definitely has changed. Recognition score is interesting too, could there be such a difference with and without masking? Are any of those scores on my latest audiogram considered a significant loss? Should I have my private audiologist complete a hearing test? What should I do? I think that’s all the questions I have for now. Thanks for the help, I truly appreciate it! :smiley:

Your hearing can fluctuate day to day or week to week by a few dB here and there. You also went to two different places for a hearing test and had different equipment doing the test and who knows when they were calibrated last, so the audiometers could have been off a little bit. As for the audiograms they don’t seem to be to far off, so I wouldn’t get to concerned with the results.

Those tests aren’t contradictory or even dissimilar to a great extent once you consider the effect of a variable conductive portion of your loss.

The Conductive element of the loss is essentially the difference between the air conduction reading and the bone conduction reading. As you mature, your Eustacian tube straightens and widens allowing far easier release of fluids and better barometric compensation. This means that if a component of your loss was down to fluid retention/low pressure in the middle ear, it’s quite possible that a functioning Eustacian has rectified this element.

Low middle ear pressure/fluid prevents the eardrum from oscillating as freely as it might which basically means that you will lose a proportion of (mainly lower) frequencies. Higher pitch sounds tend to traverse the mechanism better as the eardrum doesn’t need to move as much. There’s also a false result (50dB L on th elater test): bone conduction tests CANNOT be worse than air conduction as air conduction values are a summation of the whole system performance.

Statistically speaking 5dB variation is not significant anyway, especially if the tests were conducted under different conditions - as Seb says above.

As for the Word scores - you’ve illustrated a problem of repeatablility within word-score testing which is why they don’t have universal appeal across the globe. Essentially; in the second test you were an experienced test subject, which altered your response to a different voice on a different day presented through a different headset under different test conditions with a different word list.

Get aids fitted (with a volume control function to deal with any variability) and see if they help to reduce your hearing fatigue. This ought to impact the tinnitus too.

Hey, just wanted to thank you for the input! You guys are amazing! Thanks for all the info, you two are very knowledgeable on this subject and I appreciate you both hoping me out! I’ll talk with my audiologist about fine tuning my hearings aids. Have a safe and happy holiday!