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Online Hearing Test
Find out how good your hearing is in just three minutes. The online hearing test provides valuable information about your hearing.

A pure-tone audiometry exam, or hearing loss test, will tell you how well your hearing is or if you are experiencing hearing loss. The hearing evaluation is displayed on a special chart called an audiogram. This chart shows an audiologist a visual representation of your hearing. Learn more about what an audiogram is and how it can help you with your hearing loss below.

What is an audiogram?

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) defines an audiogram as a graph showing the results of a pure-tone hearing test. It is a chart that visually represents the results of your hearing levels. Audiograms show the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss. It’s what an audiologist will print out at the end of your hearing test and use to evaluate your hearing abilities. 

The audiologist can also identify the extent of your hearing loss with an audiogram. It illustrates your hearing by representing your hearing threshold levels (the point at which a tone can be perceived) at different frequencies with a line. A normal hearing threshold level is between 0 and 25 dB.

How are audiograms created?

During a hearing evaluation, an audiologist plays specific tones that the patient hears through headphones. The tones start off very quietly at first, then gradually increases. The readings from each ear are recorded separately. Measurements of hearing thresholds are taken in frequency and intensity. All of this information is printed out on an audiometer. The results are a visual representation of your hearing ability. It provides the audiologist with valuable information, such as how much your hearing ability deviates from normal hearing and what the cause of your hearing loss might be.

The audiogram will also show any large deviations from the normal range of hearing. These deviations may indicate various degrees of hearing loss severity.
There are four main types of hearing loss that can be distinguished with an audiogram, depending on the part of the ear that is affected:
  • Conductive hearing loss: occurs due to obstructions in the outer or middle ear from fluid, tumors, or earwax.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: occurs when the inner ear nerves and hair cells are damaged. 
  • Mixed hearing loss: a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
The audiometry exam is typically followed by a speech audiometry exam (speech intelligibility test). This determines the extent to which hearing loss affects the understanding of speech.

Discomfort threshold in speech audiometry

Speech audiometry is an essential tool that aids in hearing loss assessment. When evaluated alongside a pure-tone audiometry exam, it can aid in determining the degree and type of hearing loss. This test provides information regarding the level of discomfort or tolerance to certain speech and tone levels the patient can endure and word recognition abilities.
The results of the test, along with the audiogram, will help an audiologist determine the extent of your hearing loss and help you figure what options are available to help you restore your hearing.

Please note:

Although an online hearing test can help you determine if you have some level of hearing loss, it can never be a replacement for a professional hearing examination. If you have hearing loss, it is important to seek the opinion of an audiologist.

How is an audiogram read?

On an audiogram, there are two axes. Loudness and intensity are displayed on the vertical axis. This is measured in decibels (dB). The lower points of the axis mean the tones are lounder, and quieter tones are towards the top of the axis. Tone frequency and pitch are displayed along the horizontal axis. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). The further to the right, the higher the tone. The normal hearing range falls between 0 and 25 dB.
During the hearing exam, results are recorded on an audiogram. The results from each ear are recorded separately. A red mark is used to indicate the right ear and a blue mark is used for the left year. The lines are connected, resulting in a linear graph. This shows the hearing threshold level for each ear. It’s possible to have different results for each ear. 

In general, the further the hearing curve deviates from the normal hearing range, the greater the hearing loss.

What are decibels?

Decibels are the measurement of sound levels. A decibel is a relative unit of measurement corresponding to one-tenth of a bel. It’s based on a logarithmic scale. This scale shows a large range of quantities and it is based on orders of magnitude. Each mark on the decibel scale is the previous mark multiplied by a value. The smallest audible sound (near total silence) on a decibel scale is 0 dB.

Here are some examples of different volumes, measured in decibels:

  • 30 dB: whispering
  • 60 dB: normal conversation
  • 75-85 dB: a toilet flushing
  • 90 dB: city traffic
  • 110dB: a baby crying
  • 140 dB: a jet plane
  • 157 dB: a balloon popping
  • 180 dB: a rocket launch

What are frequencies?

A frequency is a rate at which current changes direction per second. In a tone frequency, it’s the number of vibrations in a sound wave per second. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz). The higher the number, the higher the frequency. The normal hearing frequency range is about 20 to 20,000Hz.
People who suffer from high-frequency hearing loss have problems distinguished the frequency sounds between 2,000 to 8,000 Hz. Sounds in this range include doorbells and telephones or children’s voices and the sibilants (-s-, -f-, or –sh-) and consonants. As the impairment progresses, lower frequencies will also become harder to perceive.