Hear and Now Blog

Reading Your Audiogram

audiogram shown in detail
An audiogram is a table or chart that displays the results of your hearing test. Your audiogram graphs out both the volume or loudness that you are capable of hearing, as well as the frequency range or pitch.

During your hearing test, you'll wear earphones and your audiologist will ask you to listen to a series of quiet tones and words and respond accordingly. Learn more about what to expect at your hearing test here.

Quick Tour of an Audiogram

In the audiogram above, you can see Loudness is measured down the left side of the chart, going from quiet sounds at the top to noisy at the bottom. The little images scattered along the way are there to give you an indication of how loud everyday sounds are. For example, a clock ticking is pretty quiet, in the 20 decibel range, while a motorcycle or bus is very loud, around 100 decibels. The right side of the graph and colored bands give an general indication of where normal healthy hearing falls.

Frequency is measured left to right on the graph, like piano keys going left to right, bass notes are “low” pitch sounds while treble notes are “high.” You'll notice the little images are scattered left to right as well, indicating for example that a dog bark is a low pitched sound, while a bird singing is high.

The small red letters sprinkled throughout the graph indicate where the sound each letter makes falls in regards to loudness and frequency. The sound of “F” or “S” is much softer and higher than a low, loud sound of “J” or “U”, and thus more difficult for some people to hear.

Each Ear is Different!

You may be surprised to learn that your hearing ability is not the same for both of your ears. Each of your ears is tested individually and will have different results on your audiogram. In the audiogram graphic above, you'll see a trail of dotted lines with “X”s and “O”s. The “O” line represents the results of your right ear, the “X” represents the results of your left ear. Since the hearing loss is different in each ear, the treatment recommended will vary for each ear as well.

Results of this Audiogram

The dotted lines connecting the “X”s and “O”s show your hearing “threshold” for each ear, the level at which you could no longer hear certain sound levels during your hearing test. According to the chart, this person can hear all the letters and sounds BELOW the lines, but has difficulty hearing or can't hear any of the sounds and letters ABOVE the lines. Their hearing is normal for low pitch noises even at low volume, but as the pitch of the sound grows higher, their ability to hear those sounds decreases even at a much higher volume.

Your audiologist will explain your results to you and recommend the next steps to take, taking into consideration what's best for you.

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Tags: hearing services, Audiology, Hearing Test