Understanding your audiogram

Hearing loss is generally diagnosed using a chart called an audiogram. Learn what it is and how to read it.

Audiologist with an adult that has hearing loss

What you'll find on this page

  • Learn what an audiogram is

  • Learn how to read an audiogram

  • See examples of audiograms

What is an audiogram?

Audiologists use audiograms to record the results from a series of hearing tests. The ability to hear and understand speech is mapped in an area known as the ‘speech banana’ due to its shape.

How to read an audiogram

Volume is measured in decibels and is marked from top to bottom on the chart. Pitch, or frequency, is measured in hertz and marked from left to right.

The pictures and letters represent the sounds a hearing person can normally hear at different volume and pitch levels. That ranges from the very soft, like a whisper, to the very loud, like a plane.

The blue X line shows the left ear results from an air conduction test. The red O line shows the right ear results.

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 below). 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).

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Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Consult your hearing health provider to determine if you are a candidate for cochlear technology and to understand the associated risks and benefits. Individual results may vary.

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