What Is An Audiogram?

When you have a consultation with an audiologist because you are experiencing hearing loss, it is likely that you will have a hearing test to measure how well you can hear and any possible levels of hearing loss.

When you get the results of your hearing test, these will be visible on what is called an audiogram. An audiogram will help your audiologist accurately interpret how your ears respond to a range of frequencies.

When you take a hearing test, your hearing levels are interpreted in decibels (dB).

What does an audiogram look like?

An audiogram resembles a graph. Along the horizontal part of the graph you can see numbers relating to the different pitch or frequency of the sounds you will hear. Low-pitched sounds start on the left and rise in pitch along the right of the graph.

Along the vertical side of the graph, are numbers assigned to loudness or levels of sounds heard, starting at 10dB (very quiet) rising to 120dB (very loud).

The audiogram will show where your hearing falls within those parameters. You will also see an 'X' symbol and an 'O'. These represent your left and right ears respectively.

What an audiogram shows

During your hearing test you will be asked if you can hear sounds at different pitches. You will be able to see your hearing and hearing loss levels are on the audiogram: normal, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound. Your hearing loss will be put into one of the following categories:

  • Normal decibel range is 0-25dB
  • Mild hearing loss is 26-40dB
  • Moderate hearing loss is 41-60dB
  • Severe hearing loss is 61-80dB
  • Profound hearing loss is 81dB or more

What happens during an audiogram?

Your audiologist will ask you to listen to computer-generated sounds at different pitches and volumes. You push a button when you hear the sounds. The quietest level of sound that you hear at each pitch is then plotted on the graph for each year, using the X and O symbols we mentioned earlier.

The higher up your results are on the chart, the better your hearing is. If your audiogram shows that you have mild hearing loss, you will have difficulty in hearing or processing quieter speech, speech in a noisy area or speech from a distance.

If you have moderate hearing loss, you will find it hard to hear normal speech levels even at a close range. If your hearing loss is severe, you will only hear loud sounds and voices.

How an audiogram measures sound

Your audiologist will measure two types of hearing: air conduction testing and bone conduction testing.

Air conduction testing assesses how your entire hearing system responds to sounds. You will listen to sounds either via loudspeakers or wearing earphones. Air conduction testing measures how much sound you can hear through your outer, middle ear and inner ear.

If this test shows you have hearing loss, then you will undergo bone-conducting testing. This is when a bone vibrator pad is put behind your ear to send sounds directly to your inner ear, bypassing your eardrum and middle ear.

Your hearing levels may be better during a bone-conducting test if something is stopping sound from moving through the middle ear and eardrum. If that’s the case, it means that you have what is called conductive hearing loss.

Next steps

If after reading this you think it’s time to take a hearing test, contact us today and book an appointment.

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