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The Audiogram

Your child’s hearing levels from the hearing test conducted is plotted on a graph called an audiogram. You should receive a paper looking similar to the graph below. The audiologist will mark symbols on the graphs to plot the level of your child’s hearing.

The closer the marks are to the top of the graph, the softer the sounds that can be heard. Going across on the graph is the frequency or pitch of the sound and is measured in Hertz. Each vertical line on the graph represents a different frequency. This ranges from very low at 125Hz (similar to a beating drum) to very high at 8000Hz (like a wailing siren). Going downwards on the graph is the intensity (loudness) of the sound. Each horizontal line is for a different loudness level. The softest sounds are at the top and the loudest sounds at the bottom. For each frequency tested the audiologist will place a symbol at the lowest level that the child could hear the sound. The right ear is shown on the graph with a circle when testing is performed using headphones or the ABR/ASSR approximate threshold is plotted. The left ear is shown with an X when headphones are used or the ABR/ASSR approximate threshold is plotted. When testing is performed using speakers or in the soundfield, the symbol used is S. This shows the level of response of the better hearing ear.

If the symbols fall above the red line on the graph above it means that your child has typical hearing. Some frequencies may have symbols marked above the red line and for some frequencies it may be below the red line. This means that the level of hearing is typical for some frequencies and that some frequencies are more difficult to hear. This means that the child may respond to some sounds and not others. Depending on how loud the sound has to be for the child to hear it, the audiologist will tell you the degree of hearing loss your child has. The severity of hearing loss is classified as shown on the audiogram below. The lower down the graph the symbols are marked by the audiologists, the more severe the hearing loss and the more difficult it is for the child to hear. Audiologists classify hearing up to 20dB as typical hearing. However, we know that hearing greater than 15dB will have some effect on language development for the child. The audiologist and your early interventionist will discuss amplification options with you.