Understanding the audiogram
An audiogram helps diagnose hearing loss. Learn what it is, why it's important and what it represents.
What you'll find on this page
- An overview of what an audiogram is.
- Details on what an audiogram can tell you.
- Information on what an audiogram can indicate.
What is an audiogram?
After your appointment with an audiologist, you or your child will most likely undergo hearing tests. An audiogram is a chart that shows the results of these tests and how well you or your child hears sound. It shows the softest level of sound that someone reports hearing for different pitches (from low to high pitch sounds).
The audiogram helps to diagnose the degree and type of hearing loss, to help an audiologist identify possible treatments.
An overview of an audiogram
Your audiologist will go through your audiogram, explaining what each result means. To help, here's an overview:
The pictures and letters in the chart show the different volume and pitch levels for various consonants and vowels as well as environmental sounds.
When you look at an audiogram, you’ll see a graph with various lines and symbols. Each one represents a measurement of hearing:
Volume, or intensity, is measured in decibels (dB), marked from top to bottom on the chart.
Softer sounds, like the sounds of leaves rustling, start at the top of the chart. Louder sounds, like a lawnmower, occur at higher decibels at the bottom of the chart.
Pitch, or frequency, is measured in hertz (Hz) and marked from left to right.
Each vertical line shows a different frequency of sound. The further to the right, the higher the pitch, like a bird chirping.
Red and blue lines and letters represent test results
A blue X line (left ear) and a red O line (right ear) represents your air conduction test results. The results of a bone conduction test are marked using a blue > line (left ear) and a red < line (right ear).
If a bone conduction test is also needed, the results will be marked using a blue > line for the left ear and a red < line for the right (not pictured above).
The difference between the results of air conduction and bone conduction tests is known as the air-bone gap. An air-bone gap may mean a problem in the outer or middle ear. If there is no gap between air and bone conduction this may indicate a problem in the inner ear (cochlea).
Speech recognition and speech discrimination tests
Another type of test, called speech recognition or speech discrimination, checks the quality of hearing to determine how well you can hear and understand normal conversations. The results are represented as a percent and may appear on your audiogram.
What do your results mean?
If your audiogram shows an issue, your audiologist will explain the type and degree of hearing loss along with the best possible treatments. Ask as many questions as necessary to understand what it means for you.
Find an audiologist / ENT surgeon near you
Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always follow the directions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.