Understanding Your Audiogram
The most effective and common way to diagnose hearing loss is with a hearing test from an audiologist. When the test is complete, an audiogram is produced, which both shows whether or not you have hearing loss, and the specific kind of hearing loss you have, defined by the extent of your hearing range.
An audiogram is a detailed visual representation of your entire hearing range and hearing loss. It’s an important part of the hearing test and helps you and the audiologist find the best manner of treating the condition. Here’s what you need to know about your audiogram and how to read it.
How to read your audiogram
The audiogram displays an x-axis and a y-axis. The y-axis usually shows the volume in decibels of sounds that were tested, from -10-120. Meanwhile, the x-axis, usually displayed at the top of the graph, shows the pitch of the sound being tested. As such, your hearing is tested for sounds that are low pitched, sounds that are high pitched, sounds that are quiet, sounds that are loud, and every possible combination of those different attributes.
On most audiograms, there will be another scale on the right side of the audiogram that shows different levels of hearing loss per each frequency. For instance, it shows sounds beneath 25 decibels, which are outside the normal range of hearing, as well as sounds from 26-40 decibels, which should be within a normal hearing range on most frequencies. This scale may be color-coded, helping you see the different hearing ranges for each frequency or pitch.
Completing the audiogram
The hearing test is, effectively, the method of completing the audiogram. You will listen to noises of different volumes and different pitches, responding when you hear the noise. Whether you hear the noise or don’t, the audiologist will mark the audiogram accordingly, recording the result for that particular pitch and volume.
In most cases, the audiologist starts at a high volume and pitch that’s clearly audible to most people who don’t have profound or total hearing loss. Slowly, they will decrease the volume until you can no longer hear the noise. Then they will mark the lowest volume you can hear that pitch at, before moving on to the next pitch.
An audiogram for each ear
Hearing loss will be experienced equally across both ears in many cases. As such, most people with hearing loss can hear the same volumes and pitches with each ear. If you have asymmetrical hearing loss, however, this is not the case. If you have asymmetrical hearing loss, you will have two charts, showing the levels of hearing loss in each ear or you may have the same chart, but have the results marked in different colors for each ear.
Recording your results on the audiogram
Though the method of recording the audiogram is usually the same from audiologist to audiologist, the standards for what marks are used to denote the results can change. For instance, there may be additional marks for air conduction testing, which shows as a red O for the right ear and a blue X for the left ears’ results. The marks on the audiogram should also have a colored line linking each of them together, showing how your hearing range moves depending on the pitch/frequency that was tested.
There may also be different marks for a bone conduction test, as well, which involves putting a device behind the ear to test the reflexes of the mastoid bone inside the ear. These results are often shown using some symbols. If you have difficulty reading the audiogram, don’t worry as your audiologist will explain it thoroughly to you no matter what the results are.
Make an appointment for your hearing test today
If you’ve read the information above, then you should hopefully be a lot more prepared for a hearing test and what the results of it will look like. However, even if you don’t, the results will still be explained to you. Any results will be included in a report you can take home with you, as well as a copy of your audiogram. Keep hold of this, as you will refer to it when choosing a hearing aid.
To learn more about the hearing aid process, how we can treat hearing loss, or to answer any other questions you might have in mind, get in touch with Audiology and Hearing Aid Center. Call us at 920-969-1768 and we’ll be glad to help.