What is an audiogram?

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An audiology examination or audiogram is a hearing test. The audiogram checks on your ability to hear sounds based on intensity (loudness) or tone (speed of sound wave vibrations). The intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB). While a fighter jet may be loud at 140 decibels, a whisper is only around 20 decibels.

A complete audiogram will test both the bone conduction (the ability to hear a sound when it transmitted through bone) and the air conduction (the ability to hear a sound when it is transmitted through air). The louder the sounds have to be in order to be heard, the greater the degree of hearing loss.

Using a special soundproof testing booth, the audiologist will ask you to wear earphones that are connected to the audiometer, the device that measures how you hear sounds. Different pure tones of varying intensity will be sent to your ears one at a time. When you hear a sound, the audiologist will ask you to raise your hand or indicate in some way that you heard the sound.

The lowest volume required to hear each sound is graphed. A bone oscillator is attached or placed behind your ear to best bone conduction. The test may take up to an hour from start to final report.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.