An audiogram is an important part of your comprehensive hearing test - and a key to our understanding of the health of your ears.
Essentially, it can be best understood as a visual representation of your hearing. It graphs how it may (or may not) differ from the normal hearing range, by showing your hearing threshold levels at different frequencies. Hearing threshold levels are defined as the point at which a tone or sound can be perceived by the human ear.
Your audiogram will be created on the basis of several very simple tests conducted by an audiologist or audiometrist as part of your comprehensive hearing test.
This sequence of tests might be recommended after an initial free hearing test. All of these tests are very straightforward and designed to get a clear understanding of your hearing.
If it is found that you are experiencing some hearing loss, we can then advise on possible treatment or support - including the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids are a discrete, comfortable and effective way to improve your hearing.
An audiogram, therefore, represents an important step towards ensuring the quality of your hearing and the quality of life this brings.
Your audiologist or audiometrist will make the audiogram using the results of a variety of tests. All of these tests are simple hearing evaluations - and are undertaken as part of your comprehensive hearing test which you can take with Amplifon.
One of these tests, for example, involves sound across the frequency range being played to you through headphones. In doing so, we’ll be able to get a clear measurement of your hearing across the entire auditory pathway.
You will also be asked to undergo a speech test - or speech audiometry, which is used to measure how well you hear and understand ordinary conversation. Here, recorded words spoken at different volumes will be played to you - and then you’ll be asked to repeat what you have heard. This test establishes the softest speech sounds you can hear and understand.
Another test you will get is designed to test the cochlea in isolation. This is called a bone conduction test, and involves a small oscillator being applied to the mastoid bone, while sound waves are transmitted from the bone directly to the cochlea.
You can find more information on the various applicable tests here.
Once the audiogram has been created during your appointment, the hearing care professionals at Amplifon will be on hand to explain what your audiogram means and what to do with the information it presents.
That said, understanding an audiogram is actually quite straightforward. You’ll find an example of an audiogram below.
The vertical axis you can see represents “loudness”, which is measured in decibels (dB). Sound level is always measured according to the decibel scale.
To put this measurement into context, 30dB is approximately the volume of whispering, 60dB is around the level of conversational sound, city traffic can be (approximately) measured at 90dB and an extremely loud sound (a rocket launch, to take an extreme example) is about 180dB.
Normal hearing can hear sound as softly as 20dB. Measurements beyond this threshold are defined as a loss of hearing - which is what we are looking out for.
Meanwhile, the horizontal axis is a representation of tone frequency and pitch. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) - tone frequency being the number of vibrations in a sound wave per second.
When you look at your audiogram, understand that the further to the right of the axis, the higher the frequency becomes. Basically, the higher the number, the higher pitch of the sound.
For example, 250Hz is a very deep bass sound - while a high pitched sound, such as a ringing telephone, can be measured at 2,000 to 8,000Hz.
A healthy ear should be able to pick up frequencies as low as 20 Hz and as high as 20,000 Hz. However, most sounds of speech occur in the range of 250 to 8,000 Hz - which is the range generally tested for.
Audiogram results can show, for example, that someone has high-frequency hearing loss - which can help explain why that person is finding it hard to hear high frequency sounds, such as children’s voices or the phone ringing.
An audiogram is just one part of the way Amplifon can help you maintain the health of your ears. Good hearing is a vital part of maintaining healthy relationships with others and ensuring a happy, active lifestyle. To begin the process of taking care of your hearing, please book a free hearing test with us.