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An audiogram is a diagnostic tool used to measure and graphically represent a person's hearing ability across various frequencies and intensities. 

Audiograms play a crucial role in diagnosing hearing loss and guiding appropriate treatment decisions, which may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, medical interventions, or counseling. Regular audiometric testing can also monitor changes in hearing over time and ensure timely interventions to improve an individual's quality of life and communication abilities.

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How it Works

The X-axis of an audiogram shows frequency in hertz (Hz), while the Y-axis shows intensity in decibels hearing level (dB HL). The shaded area on the audiogram shows the range of frequencies and intensities that are important for speech perception.


To create an audiogram, the audiologist will play a series of pure tones at different frequencies and intensities into the patient's ear. The patient will raise their hand or press a button when they hear the tone. The audiologist will then mark the softest sound the patient can hear at each frequency on the audiogram.

Once the audiogram is complete, the audiologist can use it to diagnose the type, degree, and configuration of the patient's hearing loss.

Hearing Loss

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Types of Hearing Loss

There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.

  • Conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear that prevents sound waves from reaching the inner ear. This can be caused by earwax buildup, fluid behind the eardrum, or a perforated eardrum.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways to the brain. This can be caused by aging, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, or head injuries.

  • Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Degrees of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can also be classified by its severity

  • Mild hearing loss is the least severe type of hearing loss. People with mild hearing loss may have difficulty hearing soft sounds or speech in noisy environments.

  • Moderate hearing loss can make it difficult to understand speech in normal conversation.

  • Severe hearing loss can make it difficult to understand speech even in quiet environments.

  • Profound hearing loss is the most severe type of hearing loss. People with profound hearing loss may only be able to hear very loud sounds.

Classifications of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can also be classified by its onset:

  • Congenital hearing loss is present from birth.

  • Acquired hearing loss develops after birth​​​​​


There are many causes of acquired hearing loss, including:

  • Aging

  • Noise exposure

  • Certain medications

  • Head injuries

  • Tumors

  • Infections

  • Genetic disorders

Once the audiologist has diagnosed the type, degree, and configuration of the patient's hearing loss, they can recommend appropriate treatment options. This may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive devices.

When to get tested

There are a number of situations in which someone should consider getting an audiogram. These include:

  • If you have any concerns about your hearing. This could include difficulty hearing speech in noisy environments, having to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, or having trouble following conversations.

  • If you have experienced any changes in your hearing. This could include a sudden loss of hearing, even if it is temporary, or a gradual decline in your hearing over time.

  • If you have a family history of hearing loss. Hearing loss can be genetic, so if you have other family members with hearing loss, you are at an increased risk of developing it yourself.

  • If you are exposed to loud noise on a regular basis. This could include working in a noisy environment, attending concerts or other loud events, or using loud headphones or earphones.

  • If you are over the age of 65. Hearing loss is more common in older adults, so it is important to get regular hearing tests, especially if you notice any changes in your hearing.

If you are unsure whether or not you need an audiogram, it is always best to err on the side of caution and consult with a doctor or audiologist. They can assess your hearing and recommend the best course of action.

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