The audiogram is used by the hearing professional to record each patient’s minimum hearing thresholds in both ears. By plotting the minimum sound level at which a person can hear clearly at different frequencies tells the hearing professional whether a loss exists.
The audiogram shown below depicts the full spectrum of sounds included in typical speech. Also displayed on the audiogram are the individual speech sounds, shown by both frequency and loudness.
In the English language, sounds vary by frequency and their level of sound energy to aid in discrimination of sounds in the environment. For example:
- The consonant “f,” as found in the word “friend,” is a high-pitched sound and is relatively soft.
- The vowel “o,” as found in the word “smoke,” is a low-pitched sound relatively loud by comparison.
Your hearing will likely be tested using an audiometer. The different pure tones and loudness levels are delivered through either earphones or loudspeakers to the ear canal and eardrum. The sound is then converted into mechanical energy by the middle ear bones and sent directly to the cochlea for processing. The patient will be asked to respond whenever a sound is heard through the earphones. When the softest signal possible is heard and responded to, the hearing professional records it on the audiogram.
When the audiogram is complete, your hearing professional can determine the nature and extent of your hearing loss (if one exists) and counsel you as to the best course of action to remedy your hearing difficulty.
If hearing aids are recommended, the audiogram becomes a prescription for the lab to follow when building or selecting your future hearing instruments.