Understanding Hearing Test Results (Audiogram)

Typical hearing losses
And hearing aids best suited for a specific type of loss.

An audiogram is a chart created by the audiologist to describe the kinds of loss you may have. It is how you can know exactly which frequencies are affected and what kind of hearing aid would help restore much of your hearing without making other sounds and frequencies too loud. Below you can see the various levels of hearing loss.

Here are a few sample audiograms.

The first audiogram below shows a line of “O’s” and “X’s” (marked on top of each other) across the audiogram at the 5 decibel (dB) level at each frequency between 250 Hz and 8000 Hz. “O’s” denote the right ear and the “X’s” denote the left ear.

This represents 5dB volume loss below where a perfectly normal hearing person would first detect a sound at each of the frequencies listed across the top of the graph. (You may think of the frequency of a sound as its “pitch” or "tone".)

For hearing loss purposes, we define the "Normal" hearing range to be no marks further down the chart than the 20 line, sometimes 25. Any marks below the 20 db line of sound intensity or volume means you have some degree of impaired hearing ability.

Marks further down the chart indicate more hearing loss.

Types of hearing loss

High Frequency

For all high frequency losses that do not exceeding 50 DB in the frequencies below 1000 Hz we recommend open ear hearing aids.

If your audiogram resembles the following two examples below depicting high frequency loss below with much better hearing on the left side of the audiogram than on the right side, you have a high-frequency loss. High-frequency hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss caused by noise damage and/or aging.

Flat hearing losses

Flat hearing losses are sometimes caused by poor conduction of sound from the eardrum through the middle ear to the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is called “conductive” and can sometimes be addressed surgically with an operation called a stapedectomy.

Flat losses that do not exceed 50 db can be treated by open ear hearing aids or custom made hearing aids that slide into your ear and ear canal.

For flat losses exceeding 50 db below 1000 Hz we recommend a custom fitted instrument In The Ear (ITE) or a Behind The Ear (BTE) with a custom fitted ear mold.

Reverse Sloping Hearing loss

Mild reverse-slope hearing loss can be treated with open ear hearing aids configured with closed tips. However, most reverse-slope hearing losses that exceed 35 db will respond better to a custom fit ITE or Completely-In-Canal (CIC) hearing aid.