Is 0 db on an audiogram the average hearing threshold?

I got my hearing tested today, and the results are as in my signature. It seems even my better ear has a flat 10 db “loss”. Does this mean I have below average hearing? It certainly would explain alot, since I find everything so quiet now.

Both your left and your right ears are within the ‘normal’ hearing threshold range. Your hearing thresolds as presented, would not be classified as a ‘loss’.
It may be that whatever you are doing on a day to day basis, is causing your hearing sensitivity with respect to speech to decrease your perception of it.

So what do you think is causing your issue?

Yes. 0dBHL is average for a healthy adult human. However, we don’t know how good your hearing was to start with. So if you once had well above average hearing, and now it’s a little below average, it will seem like a greater loss to you than someone who started out with more average hearing.

0dBHL is average for a healthy adult human

0dBHL is average for a healthy YOUNG adult human - late teens I believe.

I suspect that most people age 25+ that I see have at least a 15dBHL loss at 1KHz and above.

Haha, I am in fact in my late teens (17 going on 18). I believe my hearing was at least average before my loss. Tough luck. :frowning:

Usually, we don’t start considering anything above 25dB a “loss” of hearing though I have patients with levels around 20dB reporting difficulties in different environments. Even have one trying out some hearing aids at the moment. I describe 0dB as “perfect norm,” telling patients that it is possible to hear at -5 and even -10 dB but those ranges are usually found only in kids. I then explain that the range of what we consider to be normal is 0-25dB.

Perhaps we should be altering our definitions a bit because people are always asking me what the average for their age is.

The nerves from the cochlea go in a round about way, olivary, brain stem, thalamus, etc before reaching the brain’s auditory cortex where sounds are perceived to be interpeted by other parts of the brain. This is part of the evolution from lower forms to homosapiens.

Pathology anywhere along the way can affect speech interpretation regardless of the audiogram. Ed

Everyone is so kind on this list as it should be and I’m not trying to be contrary or mean. But DS you should really look at the audiogram profiles in people’s signatures for some perspective. I know now that you are young so you should just take advantage of that and not be so worried about your perceived hearing loss. Also, if you do get any worse there is HA technology out there that is pretty incredible. My story, as an example, is that 10 years ago I lost my hearing in my right ear due to SSNHL/Meniere’s, but my left I always felt was “normal” (enough anyway) at about 20 dB loss across the board. And, in fact I was never recommended for amplification (i.e. - hearing aid in my left ear). I got by fine, but it was always more difficult in noisy environments, but it seemed like the norm. Now it’s been about a year since I had SSNHL in my left where my remaining ear has now basically tanked. You can see in my signature below that yeah…pretty deaf. I get by OK with an HA in my left ear but - like many know - it can be a real frustration. Besides just the extra work it takes to communicate in general, follow conversation, be social (and not shy away from getting together with friends, etc.) I really can’t, for example, hear and enjoy music anymore. This includes hearing my daughter in musical theater or her achipella group which is a real bummer.
So, point is, worry about it when you have something to worry about and be glad that your hearing is really pretty good considering.

I’ve noticed a trend, at least where I live in Kentucky, where people around forty and up feel that hearing is “bad enough” to warrant amplification. And then around forty and younger feel that their “hearing isn’t perfect anymore” and want to investigate options for it. 20dB of loss is something that someone used to near perfect hearing will notice, and will have trouble dealing with for a time. True, on the grand scheme of things, it isn’t all that bad - but that does not mean we should discount it.

Dan, I don’t want you to think I am jumping down your throat about it, but I feel like it’s the “bad enough for hearing aids” that has doctors and our society in general telling people with %25-%30 hearing loss that they do not need a hearing aid. While this is technically true - if they don’t get a hearing aid, they probably won’t die of hearing loss. However, research is showing us what living with long term loss does to the brain, both physically and mentally. I’ve fit a number of younger people with “mild” losses and they have responded well to the devices – in many cases against my expectations and initial advice.

if everyone with your numbers were to get HAs it would be a major boom to the industry. My advice (worth what you paid for it) is take good care of it. lots of us old guys thought it was silly to wear ear protection while shooting, mowing, weed wacking, plowing… turn it up louder was always a good idea. also, it was fun to get to the front of a concert and get blasted by speakers 10 foot tall. get a box of those yellow foam ear plugs at Lowes and keep some handy they do a good job.

Thanks for your advice everyone. DanS, I am aware that my loss is almost nothing compared to many others on this forum, and I’m thankful for that, but for someone who’s hearing used to be alot better, I definitely feel the effect of my ‘loss’.

Iceman0486, thank you for your opinion. How ‘mild’ were the losses you fitted? Because my hearing is by definition normal, and not even considered to be a mild loss yet. But it is a loss for me if I used to have better hearing. Could you give me some advice as on how to fit a minimal loss like mine? Then I can tell my audi what i need.

Mick Shu, I’ve always been very protective of my hearing. For some reason my ears are really sensitive to loud sounds, which is why my hearing was damaged by an unfortunate incident. I definitely won’t do stupid things like standing in front of speakers at concerts, haha :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you guys remember the school hearing tests? There would be you and a few other kids holding up a rubber earphone to your hear, raising our hands when we heard the tones. I was always the kid who was still hearing tones long after the others had stopped raising their hands. My hearing was marked by the school nurse on the forms as having “exceptional hearing”.

Never had my hearing tested once I was out of school, didn’t need to. Less than a couple of years ago I could still hear a whisper from across the room. My teen would mutter something under his breath so to speak and be totally embarrassed when he realized I had heard it. I’m 48 now, so at 46 I could still hear better than most people I know.

It all changed with a night of stupidity, and a crashing fall. While my hearing is still better than a lot of other people, having come from a classification of “exceptional hearing” makes my hearing loss very hard to come to terms with.

In my last hearing test, I was once again told that I would not benefit from amplification because of the distortion in my hearing. In a sound proof booth my hearing is pretty good, I have good word recognition scores, but put me in real life with any kind of background noise and I struggle to hear. And the fact that the scores in my right ear are going down too has me pretty worried.

The older you get, the less you can hear. It’s just a fact of life. Your hearing may stay stable at the numbers you have now for a long time. If this is a recent change for you, your brain will adapt and you’ll find you notice the change less and less.

The numbers we hear those tones at don’t tell the whole story of our hearing anyway. With my numbers I should be able to wear an aid in my left ear and hear the world better. But even in the sound booth, when white noise is introduced into my left ear the distortion, and the distraction it introduces to my brain, makes it hard for my good right ear to hear correctly. That’s why they tell me amplification won’t help me, all it will do is amplify the distortion and make it harder for me to hear at all. I do better with an earplug in my left ear in noisy places.

So just keep up with regular testing of your hearing, and as others have said take care of what you have.

@Iceman. Thanks for the perspective. In fact, with my previous 20dB loss in my left ear, that’s excatly what I was being told, “not bad enough”. Truth is, now that I know the benefits of an HA (and now can’t get by without it) I probaby could have used one a long time ago even with minor loss. I’m sure I missed way more than I realized.

For Mick, I was thinking then that a boom for the industry maybe isn’t a bad thing. If more people sought out aids for “less than perfect” hearing - like we all do with vision - maybe they’d become more affordable and we’d see speedier advances in technology.

Just replied to Iceman’s message without seeing yours. And yeah he and you make good points My comment was probably tinged with a little “woe is me” tone, so really, I believe you feel the effect of your loss and you should do whatever you can to get it improved. If the technology is there, why not take advantage of it?

Your hearing is pretty good.

The stats on the audiograms posted here show that only 1/4th have hearing “as good as” 25 dB, at 0.5 and 1.0 kHz.

Yes, but the stats posted here only represent a tiny portion of the community, namely those with hearing difficulties, since this is after all a hearing aid forum. If we were to take a fair statistical sampling of random people, many people would have hearing better than 25 db at 0.5 and 1 kHz.

It is also very possible that your hearing difficulties have more to do with central processing issues than the decrease in hearing. I’m not saying that it’s not the change in hearing, a drop from 0 to 20 would be a HUGE difference in hearing even though 20dB is technically normal hearing…it’s not normal for YOU.

There are central processing tests that can be done that can provide additional information into possible causes for difficulties and if there are deficits present, aural rehab can often improve those skills so that the deficit is not as impacting.

With 23 samples, the 25% percentile for those members who posted data is now down to 20 dB, but I’m counting both left and right ears and some people here have pretty good hearing at some freqs in one ear.

DocAudio, I don’t think I have a processing disorder. I rarely have any trouble making out what people are saying even in noisy environments. Things are just a whole lot quieter. For example, if a normally hearing person were to plug up their ears, he would still be able to hear what nearby people are saying. It would just be much softer and he’d have to try harder to listen. My situation is somewhat similar.

While we’re on this subject, if you believe this site
hearing losses may be easily classified with undetermined accuracy with just two numbers:
for the range 8 kHz to 500 Hz,

a moderate hearing loss gives you 70 dB at 8 kHz and decreases 6 dB/octave or less, down to 500 Hz
an in-between loss gives you 90 and decreases 8 or 9 dB/octave or less
and a severe loss gives you 110 and decreases 12 or 13 dB per octave or less

This should make for interesting reading, at least for me