SoundSpace Online

Interpreting the Audiogram

An audiogram is a visual map/graph of your hearing ability. It represents both ears, blue crosses the left ear and red circles the right ear. This is what it looks like:

During a hearing test (more about these in section SoundSpace Online - Screening /Audiological assessments) an audiologist will note down your responses to the softest sounds at a range of pitches/frequencies. These responses, called thresholds, will be put on the audiogram. They show two things:

  1. How loud the sound was when you responded:
    • This is measured in decibels (dB)
    • The greater the decibel the louder the sound
    • Quieter sounds are at the top and get louder as you move down the audiogram
    • This is found going down on the y-axis
  2. How high or low the pitch of the sound was that you heard:
    • This is measured in Hertz
    • The lower the hertz the lower the pitch of the sound
    • Low pitched sounds are at the far left and get higher in pitch as you move to the right of the audiogram
    • This is found going across on the x-axis

To give you an idea of how sounds are represented on an audiogram, think about some everyday noises. For example, a soft whispered conversation would be represented near the top of the audiogram at about 35 dB. A high pitched pneumatic drill would be towards the right and down at the bottom of the audiogram at 110dB. Speech sounds are also represented on the audiogram, please see SoundSpace Online - Aided thresholds and speech sounds on an audiogram and please also visit The Ear Foundation - Nottingham Early Assessment Package (NEAP) - Online tutorial.

So by looking at a completed audiogram an audiologist will be able to tell a number of things including:
  • Whether the person has normal levels of hearing in both ears
  • If there is a difference in hearing levels in both ears
  • If there is a hearing loss how mild to severe that is, also called the degree of hearing loss. (this will have implications for management)
  • Where the problem in the hearing system e.g. is it in the middle part of the ear or further along in the cochlea. This is referred to the type of hearing loss i.e. conductive or sensori-neural. More detailed information can be found in SoundSpace Online - Types of hearing loss

Please visit these links below for more information about the audiogram: