Understanding An Audiogram
First, an audiometer is used to test a person's hearing. It makes different pitches (frequencies) from low to high at different volumes (measured in hertz, Hz). These are printed across the top of the audiogram. The loudness or intensity of the sound is measured in decibels, or dB. These are printed vertically on the audiogram. When looking at an audiogram, think of the frequencies like the keys on a piano: lower sounds are to the left, higher sounds are to the right.
When the audiologist performs the air conduction (earphone) hearing test, he/she will record results: a red circle for the results of the right ear, a blue "x" for the left ear. (Sometimes there will not be color, or there will not be the shapes. However, you will have a key/code to see the right from the left.)
Here is an example of a legend from an audiogram. This will help you decipher the results.
Types of Losses
Sometimes the audiologist will want to test how the person's inner ear is working with a bone conduction test. This test helps to determine if the person has a conductive, a sensorineural, or a mixed loss. Here below are some examples of different types of losses as shown on the audiogram:
Here is an example of a sensorineural loss. Note how the bone conduction is the same as the air conduction results.
Here is an example of a conductive loss. Note how with air conduction the person has a hearing loss. However, the bone conduction results show that the sensorineural pathways are in good working order.
Here is an example of a mixed loss. Both bone conduction and the air conduction show a loss, but the bone conduction loss is not as great as the air conduction loss.