An audiogram is a graphic representation of a person’s hearing ability. It is used to diagnose and treat hearing impairments such as partial or complete deafness. An audiogram contains information about the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss a person has.
Understanding the Audiogram
The audiogram is typically presented as a graph with two axes. The horizontal axis contains frequencies, which are measured in Hertz (Hz). The vertical axis contains decibels (dB), which measure sound intensity.
An audiogram is typically divided into four sections: the left ear (LE), right ear (RE), combined ears (BC), and bone conduction (BC).
The results of each test are represented by a line that moves up or down depending on the level of sound heard. A higher line indicates a greater loss of hearing, while a lower line indicates a lesser or no impairment.
The scale used on an audiogram typically ranges from -10dB (normal) to +90dB (profound deafness). The “0dB” point indicates that the patient is unable to hear tones at all frequencies tested.
Components of Audiogram
An audiogram has several different components that must be taken into consideration when interpreting it.
a) Air Conduction Threshold
This is the lowest intensity at which a sound can be heard by the person when it is delivered through headphones. This level typically ranges from 0 dB to 40 dB.
b) Bone Conduction Threshold
This measures how loud a sound must be for it to be heard when it is delivered directly to a person’s skull, without using headphones. This level typically ranges from 0 dB to 90 dB.
c) Speech Recognition Threshold
This measures how loud a sound must be for the person to understand what it is saying. This level can range from 0 dB to 130 dB.
Interpreting an Audiogram
Once you have a basic understanding of the audiogram, it is important to interpret it properly. Interpretation can be done by looking at the thresholds for each frequency range and determining whether there is hearing loss present.
Hearing loss is indicated when an individual’s air or bone conduction threshold exceeds the average range (0-40 dB for air conduction and 0-90 dB for bone conduction).
If the person’s speech recognition threshold is above the average range (0-130 dB), then they may have difficulty understanding speech in a noisy environment.
Why Should You Know About Audiograms as a Patient?
If you are a patient with any hearing issue, it is important to understand audiograms and how they can affect your daily life.
Knowing what an audiogram looks like and how to interpret it can help you better communicate with your audiologist and determine the best treatment options for you.
Understanding an audiogram also helps ensure that you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for your hearing issue. This can help you better manage your hearing and prevent any further hearing impairment.
Audiograms are an important hearing test tool in diagnosing and treating hearing impairments. Understanding what an audiogram is and how to interpret it can help patients better manage their hearing health and obtain proper treatment for any hearing issues they may have.
With this knowledge, patients can be more prepared to communicate with their audiologist and ensure that they receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.