The graph of hearing – an audiogram

When we test your hearing, we use a variety of different tests to check every part of the hearing organ. The results of the Pure Tone Audiometry where we play beeps to see what pitches you can hear and the softest you can hear them are plotted on a graph called an audiogram. Along the horizontal axis, we have the range of frequencies going from bass through to treble. Then along the vertical axis we have the dB level you can hear them at. The 0- 20dB range indicates normal hearing and as you move lower down on the graph, it shows the amount of hearing loss in categories, for example mild through to profound.

Often a person’s hearing loss can include just a certain range of frequencies, for example they can have normal low pitch hearing but severe hearing loss in the high pitches. This indicates issues with clarity of consonants and softer speech sounds. This type of hearing loss is typical in people who have worked in loud industrial noise.

The right ear is plotted as circles and the left ear plotted as crosses on the audiogram. You may also see bracket and umbrella symbols on an audiogram. This shows the results of bone conduction testing which tells us where in the ear your damage is, for example in the cochlea or in the middle ear.

Your clinician will explain your graph specifically for you in your appointment and guide you as to what might be the best solution to help you with your hearing goals. We link the audiogram results with your case history to help you understand exactly how your graph relates to your daily life and hearing.