Audiology is the branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders. An audiologist is a healthcare professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear. Our audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing or balance problems. An audiology exam tests your ability to hear sounds. Sounds vary, based on their loudness (intensity) and the speed of sound wave vibrations (tone).
Hearing occurs when sound waves are converted into electrical energy, which stimulates the nerves of the inner ear. Eventually, the sound travels along nerve pathways to the brain.
Sound waves can travel to the inner ear through the ear canal, eardrum, and bones of the middle ear (air conduction), or through the bones around and behind the ear (bone conduction).
THE INTENSITY OF SOUND IS MEASURED IN DECIBELS (DB):
• A whisper is about 20 dB
• Loud music (some concerts) is around 80 – 120 dB
• A jet engine is about 140 – 180 dB
THE TONE OF SOUND IS MEASURED IN CYCLES PER SECOND (CPS) OR HERTZ:
• Low bass tones range around 50 – 60 Hz
• Shrill, high-pitched tones range around 10,000 Hz or higher
The normal range of human hearing is about 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz. Some animals can hear up to 50,000 Hz. Human speech is usually 500 – 3,000 Hz.
Usually, sounds greater than 85 dB can cause hearing loss in a few hours. Louder sounds can cause immediate pain, and hearing loss can develop in a very short time.