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Hearing Test: What is an Audiogram?

There are several different aspects of a hearing test, but the audiogram, or audio, is the central piece. Through a range of frequencies moving left to right, the audio maps your range of hearing. From top to bottom, it shows the minimum amount of decibels needed for you to hear at each frequency. Points towards the bottom of the graph indicate more hearing loss.

The lines you see in the examples show different degrees and types of hearing loss. Anything above the line is sound you can comfortably hear.  A sloping line shows frequencies at one end of the spectrum will be more difficult than frequencies at the other end. A flat line shows the patient can hear all frequencies at the same decibel level. Many people diagnosed with age-related hearing loss have more difficulty with high frequencies, which is why they may have a hard time hearing children and women with high voices.

Also highlighted in these examples is the “speech banana.” This is the region of frequencies and decibels in which conversations usually take place. If only part of your range of hearing falls under the speech banana, then you might notice some difficulty hearing everything being said in conversations.

Hearing loss looks different for each person, and no two audios are the same. Your audiologist will explain your hearing test results to you and discuss various difficulties you may notice in your day-to-day life.