Understanding Test Results

Most hearing test results can plotted on a hearing chart called an audiogram.

We will give you a copy of this chart with your child’s hearing marked on it for you to take home after the hearing test, and the Audiologist will explain it to you.

This chart enables us to plot on the quietest levels your child can hear at a number of different pitches. We aim to test your child’s hearing at a number of different pitches, from low bass notes to high soprano notes. On the chart the sounds gradually get higher in pitch as you move from left to right, a little bit like running your finger from left to right on a piano keyboard. The loudness of the sound is indicated in decibel levels. Quiet sounds are at the top of the chart, and as you go down the chart the sounds get louder. The chart shows where the sounds of speech would fall on this chart and also some common sounds.

For younger children tested using speakers, the quietest level we expect a child to respond to is a level of 25 dBHL, if they wore headphones or insert earphones, we would want them to hear at 20 dBHL. If they needed the sound louder than this their hearing is down. The degree of hearing loss depends on how loud we had to make the sound before the child responded.

If a child’s hearing is down we also aim to find out what part of the ear is not working as well. This can be done using a small vibrator on the bone behind the ear to transmit the sounds to the inner part of the ear. If the results with the vibrator are better than with the headphones or speakers it suggests the hearing loss is ‘conductive’ in nature. Most conductive losses are temporary, for example, due to congestion in the ears. If the results when using the vibrator are the same as with the headphones, the hearing loss is ‘sensorineural’ that is due to problems in the inner ear or nerve which are usually permanent in nature.

If you would like more information about understanding test results, please contact us.