Following your hearing test, your audiologist will likely show you a chart: an audiogram. An audiogram is a visual representation of your hearing loss, and one that will be instrumental in deciding what type of hearing aid may be right for you – but there’s no denying it’s confusing.

To the untrained eye, audiograms look like nonsense; lots of lines, graphs, and squares, but no specific information. However, your audiogram is actually the most complex, in-depth study of your hearing, so it’s well worth taking a closer look. Your audiologist will talk you through your results, but if you wish to better understand your audiogram for yourself, here are a few things that you can learn.

Symmetry of hearing loss

The first point to note on your audiogram is how symmetrical your hearing loss is, such problems with one ear or in both ears. And, is the degree of hearing loss the same in both ears, or is one ear worse than the other?

There are two separate lines on your audiogram; one for the left ear, and one for the right. If these lines are close together, this indicates symmetrical hearing loss. If the lines are far apart or show very different peaks, then you may have asymmetrical hearing loss.

In most cases, you will find that your hearing loss is indeed symmetrical. This may sound rather strange, especially if you are accustomed to eyesight tests, which invariably show that one eye is “worse” than the other. The same is unlikely to be true of your hearing, and if your hearing loss is asymmetrical, then your audiologist may need to tailor a treatment plan specifically for you.

The frequency of your hearing loss

Frequency defines whether a sound is high or low in pitch, and you may find that your audiogram indicates your hearing loss only impacts one frequency of sound.

  • If you have high-frequency hearing loss, then you will struggle to hear high-pitched sounds, such as whistles or a young child’s speaking voice. For high-frequency hearing loss, the Xs and Os on your audiogram will be primarily on the right side.
  • If you have low-frequency hearing loss, then you will struggle to hear low-pitched sounds, such as a roll of thunder or a bass line. For low-frequency hearing loss, the Xs and Os on your audiogram will be predominantly on the left side.

Your audiologist will be able to use the information regarding the frequency of your hearing loss in order to find the best hearing aid for you.

The level of hearing loss

Decibels are measured vertically on the left side of your audiogram. The higher this number is, the more severe your hearing loss. For example, if the line indicates your hearing loss is around 70 decibels, then you will likely be diagnosed with mild hearing loss, as this suggests you cannot hear sounds below 70 decibels. If the line indicates anything over 90 decibels, then you will likely be diagnosed with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.

We hope you found this guide to understanding the results of your hearing test useful. If you have any further questions regarding your test, your audiologist will be happy to explain, as well as assist in finding the right hearing aid for you.