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Diagnostic Services

Understanding Your Audiogram

Understanding Your Audiogram


An audiogram plots the softest sound an individual can hear as a function of frequency (pitch). The decibel (dB) refers to a unit of intensity, or loudness. For example, normal conversational speech ranges between 50-65 dB. A rock concert can be as loud as 120 dB, while leaves rustling can be as quiet as 10 dB.

Frequency is plotted on the horizontal access from low to high pitches (similar to the layout of a piano). In speech, consonants are more high pitched and vowels are more low pitched.

Degree of hearing loss can be divided into 5 main categories: Normal, Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Profound. Each categorization presents its own unique challenges and difficulties to be faced by the individual.

The above figure depicts an individual with normal hearing in the low pitches (below 1000 Hz) sloping to a severe loss in the higher pitches. This type of hearing loss is typical of elderly individuals, and may result in reduced speech clarity, as well as difficulty understanding speech in noise and soft voices.