Audiometry Results & Report

There is no point in an all-singing all-dancing testing service if the report you get means nothing to you. A lot of our work is done for companies with no in-house speciality therefore we make sure all our reports contain information which is meaningful to a lay person. Alongside this, we always have an eye on the fact that reports may often be read by specialists therefore we also make sure that all the technical information they may need is also present.

Our audiometry reports contain:

  • A statistical summary of some key elements of the pre-test health questionnaires
  • A list of who scored which category of result (see below for info on the category system)
  • Additional detail for all referred individuals and all individuals where problems were identified, whether referred or not.
  • A copy of the individual audiogram (result) for each and every attendee.

The audiogram

One of the first choices any audiometry provider has to make is the equipment which is used to do the tests. First and foremost is accuracy - its no good having something which wanders off in its own direction every few months.

In HSMC's case, we then also chose a style of unit which (almost uniquely as most models of audiometer don't feature this) as well as printing the individual's audiometry result in a large clear graph with the numerical values given below, it also gives the anticipated thresholds for someone of their age. Why did we do this? As we all know, when you've spoken to any specialist about anything vaguely medical they tell you what it all means and we sit there and nod meaningfully, then a week or a month later haven't got a clue what it was they were on about but remember them having a nice shiny pen in their pocket! By printing the anticipated age thresholds on the graph along with their result we get a nice clear point of reference for the attendee - 'this is where you are' and 'this is where we expect you to be'. Feedback on this has been excellent over the years and is a big strength of our service.

Example audiograms

Graphically, audiometry results are presented for both ears, in a similar manner to those shown here:

Audiometry results - normal age-related losses

As mentioned above, age is a critically important factor in audiometry as, along with unusual ear hair, a gut that just won't go and an inability to sit down in a chair without grunting, hearing is just one of those things that often gets worse as we plod along in life. There is a faint red line visible on the audiogram above which simply put is the lower limit of acceptability and this changes with the age of the employee. By having the dotted black and red lines on the chart we can give attendees a steady reference point and hopefully help them understand it that little bit better.

Analysis of these charts is used as an initial diagnosis, for example:

Audiometry result showing one poor ear and one good ear

This audiometry chart shows the left ear to be good and above the warning levels while the results for the right ear are heavily reduced. A difference between the two ears such as this is a classic unilateral result for someone who has suffered accidental damage to one ear for example.

Audiometry result showing effects of noise exposure - noise induced hearing loss

This audiometry chart is a good example of the type of result in which we are interested in workplace audiometry. The audiogram gives a good indication that the individual is suffering from a degree of noise induced hearing loss, (in this case, it is the graph of one of our technicians and was caused by a feckless studenthood spending far too long in noisy nighclubs!). This is classically evidenced by the dip seen at around the 4,000Hz level, followed by a recovery up to 8,000Hz.

As an aside, in addition to the trends shown by the results, there are other vital components used when we are analysing the audiometry data. Firstly, there is the comparison against the medical history of the person to see if there is a known reason for any observed losses. Secondly the results are compared against any previous audiometry to identify any changes which may have taken place.

There is a limit to what can be diagnosed with audiometry screening programmes and their main aim is to identify people who may be experiencing a problem. Where the results warrant it these individuals are then referred to their G.P. for further testing to determine the exact cause of the loss. For example, another type of audiometry called 'bone conduction' may show that the loss is due to physical bone damage in the middle ear eliminating noise as a potential cause. This type of testing can only be done under clinical conditions and is not part of a workplace audiometry programme.

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