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The how and why of audiograms have an excellent article by Elaine Saunders called: Why is an audiogram commonly used as the basis for fitting a hearing aid?

It explains how audiograms works and how they measures your hearing loss against a benchmark rather than your hearing ability. It also gives a brief history of measuring and diagnosing hearing loss. What’s most interesting though is this snippet:

“… a threshold measure of hearing loss is used to estimate how a hearing aid should be set up to work at normal speech and noise levels. It’s not very logical.”

It’s an interesting point, I always understood the audiogram to be the focal point of a hearing aid fitting. I always thought that the result of the audiogram determined my aids settings and I would be more or less ready to wear them after that. I’ve always had the audiologist tweak or change my settings a bit but I just assumed that maybe I was being a bit picky or maybe my hearing loss was a bit unusual or something.

I used to think of a hearing test and resulting audiogram as being a bit like a vision test when I go for new glasses: have the test, get the prescription, pick a make and model and away you go. But Elaine’s article made me realise that really the two are very, very different.

Read the original article on