The final component to describing and categorizing hearing loss is the Configuration. See previous posts for information on the type and degree of hearing loss. These are helpful to understand prior to learning about the configuration.
Configuration of Hearing Loss – this is often referred to as the “shape” of the hearing loss. This explains the degree (which we just learned about) and pattern of hearing loss across pitches (frequencies), and is illustrated on the audiogram.
– For example, a hearing loss that only affects the high pitches would be described as a high-frequency loss. Its configuration would show good hearing in the low pitches and poor hearing in the high pitches.
– Another example, if only the low pitches were affected, the configuration would show poorer hearing for low pitches and better hearing in high pitches. Some configurations are flat, indicating the same amount of hearing loss for low and high pitches.
– Bilateral versus unilateral – Bilateral hearing loss means hearing loss is in both ears. Unilateral means that hearing loss is only in one ear, and the other ear is categorized as “Normal.” Either one can occur in both children and adults.
– Symmetrical versus asymmetrical – Symmetrical hearing means that the hearing loss is the same in both ears. Asymmetrical means that there is hearing loss in both ears, but the degree and configuration are different.
– Progressive versus sudden hearing loss – Progressive means that hearing loss becomes worse over time, which is more common. Sudden means that the loss happens quickly, which requires immediate medical attention to determine its cause and treatment.
– Fluctuating versus stable – Fluctuating means hearing loss changes over time – sometimes getting better, sometimes getting worse. Stable means the loss does not change over time and remains the same.
Now we know all about describing and categorizing each persons hearing loss! I hope you found this information helpful! Next up – UNDERSTANDING! A whole other aspect of our auditory system!
“Don’t hesitate to go out on a limb sometimes – after all, that’s where the fruit is.” – Evan Esar