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Audiograms explained

What is an audiogram?

An audiogram is a graph that displays the results of a hearing test. Each time you responded to sound during your hearing test (when you think you hear a sound being presented) the result is recorded on the graph. It can be used to identify what level of hearing you actually have, compared to the level at which a normally-hearing person should be able to hear. It can also show the level at which sound becomes uncomfortably loud for you, which is termed the 'uncomfortable loudness level' (ULL).

How to read an audiogram

As an audiogram is a graph, it is used to make a comparison between the degree of hearing loss and which frequencies (pitch) the hearing loss is at.

The frequency is on the horizontal axis, which is displayed in Hertz (Hz), where 250 Hz is low pitch sound and 8000 Hz is high pitch sound. The amount of hearing loss is shown on the vertical axis in decibels (dB), where the higher the number, the greater the degree of hearing loss. Thresholds from 0 to 20 dB are considered to be within the normal hearing range for adults. Any results worse than this will mean  that people usually have some hearing difficulties.

The degree of loss is usually one of the following:

  • Mild:  thresholds between 20-39dB
  • Moderate: 40-69dB
  • Severe: 70-89dB
  • Profound: 90dB+

(The 100 dB point should not be confused with a 100% hearing loss)

What does an audiogram look like?

Your audiogram may look like this: