Yesterday, Lyn had her visit to the audiologist. She was cooperative and pleasant. The results of the exam are below:
The audiologist says that Lyn's hearing is normal. There are differences between the left ear and the right ear but he feels it is normal and attributed the issue with the left ear to residuals from an ear infection.
In trying to understand the report, I looked up some resources and learned the following.
The audiogram tells us the tone of sounds and the volume at which she can hear them. She can hear a 2kHz tone at about 15 decibels. A 4kHz tone is audible to her starting at 40 decibels. This means a high pitched sound is harder for her to hear with her left ear than with her right. How quiet is 40 decibels? It is somewhere between a whisper in a quiet room and a normal conversation.
The tympanogram tests how compliant the eardrum and middle ear are to sounds and air pressure. Her right ear presents in a shallow Type A result which means the ear is compliant and she may have had ear infections as a child. (She didn't. I did.) The left ear result seems to match most to a Type C result which indicates the ear is less compliant and that she's recovering from or about to get an infection. It has been a couple of months since her last infection. It will be interesting to see if she's got a new one quietly brewing.
Is her hearing normal in the left ear? Perhaps. The testing was done in a quiet booth with earphones on. There were no competing sounds. There was no other stimuli for her brain to process. When she was seen by her physician, her physician noted diminished hearing in the left ear. Additionally, the behavioral therapist who works with Lyn reported recently that Lyn has started leaning in and turning her head to the right when she's trying to hear you well. So, perhaps her left ear is physically functioning in a normal or acceptable range and the issue is more with how her brain is or is not able to process what the ear is hearing.