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Hearing is Believing

From the results of an audiogram, audiologists can determine what type of hearing loss has occurred. There are two main types-conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss occurs when the outer or middle ear does not work properly. Sounds are "blocked" and do not make it all the way into the inner ear. Common causes are too much fluid in the middle ear or too much ear wax. Conductive hearing loss is usually treatable. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or hearing nerve becomes damaged. This happens with aging or damage from loud noises.

The audiogram shown in Diagram A represents the charts of typical conductive and sensorineural hearing losses. The areas above the lines are sounds that the person would not hear.

Ranges have been established to standardize descriptions of hearing loss:

• 10 dB to 25 dB - normal range
• 26 dB to 40 dB - mild hearing loss
• 41 dB to 55 dB - moderate hearing loss
• 56 dB to 70 dB - moderately severe hearing loss
• 71 dB to 90 dB - severe hearing loss
• over 90 dB - profound hearing loss

In groups of three complete the following task:

You are an audiologist and you have just finished evaluating an elderly gentleman's hearing. He is apprehensive that he's lost his hearing for good. These are his results:

• 125 Hz - 55 dB
• 250 Hz - 60 dB
• 500 Hz - 60 dB
• 750 Hz - 50 dB
• 1000 Hz - 50 dB
• 1500 Hz - 65 dB
• 2000 Hz - 65 dB
• 3000 Hz - 57 dB
• 4000 Hz - 55 dB
• 6000 Hz - 60 dB
• 8000 Hz - 65 dB

Graph his audiogram with frequency (Hz) on the horizontal axis and loudness (dB) on the vertical axis. Based on your interpretations of this graph, answer the following questions: (Justify your answers!)

1. Do you notice any patterns or trends in the graph?
2. Does this man have conductive or sensorineural hearing loss?
3. Do you expect his hearing loss to be treatable?
4. At what level would you describe his hearing loss?

Rubric

 4 2 0 Graph axis labeled, correct graph no axis labeled, correct graph incorrect graph Q. 1 Patterns patterns identified no patterns identified Q. 2 Conclusion correct conclusion, defended answer w/ graph incorrect conclusion, defended answer w/ graph incorrect conclusion, not defended w/ graph x2 Q. 3 Justified explanation of answer, defended w/ graph or data explanation of answer, not defended w/ graph or data no explanation of answer given x2 Q. 4 Conclusion correct conclusion, defended answer w/ graph incorrect conclusion, defended answer w/ graph incorrect conclusion, not defended w/ graph x2 Group takes turns in completing wksht. Yes no

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Copyright 2018, Jon Mueller. Professor of Psychology, North Central College, Naperville, IL. Comments, questions or suggestions about this website should be sent to the author, Jon Mueller, at jfmueller@noctrl.edu.