Reading An Audiogram
When your, or your child’s hearing is tested at the local hearing-service or hospital ENT clinic, the audiogram chart shows the results. The audiogram measures the quietest level at which you hear sounds – these are recorded on the vertical axis or “down the side of the graph”. This is known as your threshold of natural hearing.
Audiograms also measure the different types of sounds you can hear, from the low pitch to higher pitched sounds needed to hear speech clearly. These sound pitches are recorded on the axis across the top of the graph.
Recording an audiogram means we have a measure of the quietest levels at which you hear the different pitches that go to make up speech.
This information is used to choose the right hearing aid for your specific hearing level.
Levels of hearing loss, measured in decibels (dB)
- Typical hearing: -10 to 20dB
- Mild hearing loss: 20 to 40 dB
- Moderate hearing loss: 40 to 70 dB
- Severe hearing loss: 70 to 95 dB
- Profound hearing loss: 95 to 120 dB
The low pitch area (125 – 500 dB) represents sounds such as ‘deep’ voices, some vowel sounds or traffic hum.
Sometimes our low pitch hearing is better than our high pitch hearing at 2000-8000Hz.
High pitch hearing involves the consonants of speech (s, t, sh, p, f, etc.), and when affected by hearing loss can make speech difficult to follow – you may hear someone talking but what they say, is not very clear.
Your Audiologist will give you your audiogram. Here’s how to explain your hearing issues to family and friends.
People often ask about what percentage of hearing loss is measured?
The audiogram, from -10dB to 120dB is not easy to convert into percentage and likewise, a 60dB loss does not mean a 60% loss of hearing. It is more accurate to talk in terms of dB than percentage. Questions about levels of hearing can be discussed with your audiologist.