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Hearing Loss represented on an Audiogram

How the audiogram looks will tell the audiologist about a person’s hearing. They will be able to see if someone has a hearing loss, how severe that loss is and whether it occurs in the low or high frequencies. Remember the pitch or frequency is from left to right and the loudness form the top to the bottom, sounds getting louder as you move down.

The shaded areas of the audiogram relate to the degree of hearing loss. These are classified from normal, mild, moderate, severe and profound. Please visit this Hearing Link website page which has this very clearly represented.

Look at the audiogram below. It shows the right ear responses (small circles o), and the left ear responses (small crosses x), at the softest sounds heard by the person who has been tested.


The audiogram shows:

  1. The person has different hearing levels between their two ears (there is a big gap between the blue and red lines). This is referred to as an asymmetrical loss.
  2. Their left ear has normal hearing for low pitched sounds but a moderate to severe loss for the high pitches. This is obvious as the first three crosses are within the zone for normal hearing at the top of the audiogram. Then the crosses slope downwards. This means the audiologist had to make the higher pitched sounds louder and louder before they were heard consistently for the first time.
  3. Their right ear, represented with a flatter red line, has a moderate to severe loss. This loss is over the low and high pitched sounds.

Now let’s look at just the left ear. The audiogram shows us that the person cannot hear sounds in the area above the crosses. But they can hear the grey area below the line of crosses.

Watch this YouTube clip for an explanation of an audiogram and also interpreting the results of a hearing loss. 

Please visit this First Years website page for easy-to-read inforation on how to read an audiogram.

The audiogram along with the severity of your hearing loss can also give you information about the types of testing that were undertaken. The symbols represented on the audiogram i.e. the crosses or circles are universal signs that testing was done by presenting sounds to the ears using headphones or little insert ear plugs. In other words the sounds were sent down the ear canal, through to the ear drum, cochlea etc. This is referred to as air conduction testing. A different type of testing that can also be done and represented on the audiogram is bone conduction testing. For more information, please visit SoundSpace Online - Bone conduction measurements on an audiogram.