How Accurate Is Audiogram?
An audiogram is a graph that displays the results of a hearing test. It reflects what the softest sounds are that a person can hear at different frequencies. The left side of the graph represents the hearing level or decibels of the sound with the softer sounds at the top of the graph, and the louder sounds at the bottom. The top of the graph shows the frequency of the sound with lower frequencies at the left and gradually increasing across the graph.
Marks on the graph represent the sounds a person cannot hear. Marks at the top of the graph represent a normal hearing range, while marks at the bottom represent a profound hearing loss. The top of the graph starts at the normal hearing range, and gradually moving down goes through slight hearing loss, mil, moderate, moderately severe, severe and finally to profound.
Different symbols are used on an audiogram. An O is usually used to represent the right ear, and an X is usually used for the left ear. There will be a key on the audiogram to ensure you understand what the symbols mean.
Different letter sounds in speech have different pitches, so understanding hearing loss in relation to pitches and frequency helps the audiologist understand how to start treatment. The S sound is a high pitched, and the o sound is low pitched. The frequencies affected by hearing loss directly correlate to the ability to understand a conversation.
To measure all the different ways we hear, a hearing test is administered. During this test, different sounds are presented. When using earphones or loudspeakers, the sounds go into the ear canal, through the middle ear and finally reach the inner ear. This is called air conduction testing, and it sees how the whole hearing system responds to stimuli.
If the air conduction testing shows hearing loss and more information is needed, then a bone conduction hearing test will be administered. During this test, a bone vibrator is placed behind the ear to send the sounds directly to the inner ear. Since they are sent through the bones in the head, they do not need to pass through the eardrum or middle ear, which makes it easier to see where the problem lies.
How accurate is an audiogram?
An audiogram is the most accurate way to test for and measure hearing loss. It not only determines if there is hearing loss but what kind and to what extent. It shows hearing loss categorized into several sections. Normal hearing is where most people should sit. It is typically between the frequencies of zero and 20dB. Mild hearing loss doesn’t present many problems, but the hearing threshold is between 21-40dB. For context, the sound of a whisper is about 30dB.
Moderate hearing loss begins to affect daily life. It is measured as having a threshold between 41 and 55dB. The sound of a normal conversation is about 60dB, so most people with this hearing loss need to ask others to repeat themselves often. Severe hearing loss has a threshold between 71-90dB, and at this point in time, most noise is inaudible. You would not be able to hear a car driving by or follow a conversation. Profound hearing loss means you would not be able to hear a police siren.
Because of the extensive testing and categorizations for hearing loss, an audiogram is very accurate, usually within five dB, which is statistically insignificant for your diagnosis. You can trust your results to lead to the proper treatment.
After your test, your audiologist will go over your audiogram with you and explain what it means for your future. Be sure you ask questions about anything you don’t understand and know what all your treatment options are before moving forward.
Finding the right audiologist
The most important part of getting your hearing tested is finding the right audiologist. It is important to find someone that you feel comfortable with and will offer the best quality service. At EarTech Audiology, we have over 50 years of combined experience, so you know you are getting the best care possible.
We also believe in treating each patient as an individual, so your treatment truly meets your individual circumstances. We use the latest technology to give you accurate results and will be with you every step of the way to make sure you understand all your options. Call us at 801-399-9955 today and let us know how we can help you get started on your journey.