Musicians Need to Protect Their Hearing!! By: Lisa D. Cahill, Ph.D., CCC-A
What is an Audiogram?
If you are a hearing patient or the friend or family member of one, you may have heard the word audiogram and wondered what exactly it meant. Audiograms are very useful to hearing professionals as they can give a lot of information in one “glance”.
Let’s discuss what an audiogram is, what it’s purpose is in giving information about hearing ability, and what they are used for.
What an Audiogram is
The term audiogram refers to a special graph that is used by audiologists to represent information collected from a pure-tone hearing test. Your audiogram will tell audiologists and other hearing professionals the exact type, degree, and configuration of your hearing loss (or hearing ability).
what information does it contain?
The information contained in an audiogram include the intensity levels of your hearing ability for each frequency that was presented during the test. For instance, one side of the graph will represent how well you can hear a low-pitched sound like a bass drum, while another side of the graph will represent how well you can hear a high-pitched sound like a bird screeching.
Vertical lines on the graph (left to right) represent a pitch (frequency) in Hertz (Hz). The graph starts with the lowest pitches on the left side and progresses to the highest pitches on the right side. Audiologists typically test in these frequencies: 125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, 3000Hz, 4000 Hz, and 8000 Hz.
Horizontal lines on the graph (top to bottom) represent how loud the sound needed to be for you to hear it. This “loudness” is measured in decibels (dB). Lines at the top of the chart represent a low decibel (soft sounds) and lines at the bottom represent higher decibels (loud sounds).
Audiograms typically use a red O to represent your right ear and a blue X to represent your left ear.
What is it used for?
Audiograms are useful in many ways. During a hearing test and audiologist can see results specific to the frequency of sound he is presenting. However, with an audiogram your audiologist can also see clearly on paper if there are any patterns to your hearing loss.
This allows him or her to see if you have normal hearing while listening to low pitches, but have a hearing loss in higher pitches. Also, some people having trouble hearing all frequencies, which means you likely have trouble hearing all sounds and voices. This is very valuable information to you and your audiologist and can help immensely in the treatment of hearing loss.
How often do I need a new audiogram?
It’s best to get your hearing tested (and a new audiogram produced) once every year or two. However, you should see your audiologist for a hearing test whenever you notice any sudden change in your hearing.
Can I get a copy of my audiogram?
You should be able to get a copy of your audiogram if you ask your audiologist. Some patients like to keep a copy of their test results on hand to show to other hearing professionals. However, some offices will require that your test results be sent directly to them from the office that performed your hearing evaluation.