Understanding Speech


An audiogram is a standard way of representing a person's hearing loss or hearing ability. Most audiograms cover the limited range 100Hz to 8000Hz (8kHz) which is most important for clear understanding of speech, and they plot the threshold of hearing relative to a standardized curve that represents 'normal' hearing, in dBHL. Audiograms are produced using a piece of test equipment called an audiometer, and this allows different frequencies to be presented to the subject, usually over calibrated headphones, at any specified level.

The test involves different tones being presented at a specific frequency (pitch) and intensity (loudness). When the person hears the sound they raise their hand or press a button so that the tester knows that they have heard it. The lowest intensity sound they can hear is recorded. Typically, audiometric tests determine a subject's hearing levels with the help of an audiometer, but may also measure ability to discriminate between different sound intensities, recognize pitch, or distinguish speech from background noise. Results of audiometric tests are used to diagnose hearing loss or diseases of the ear, and often make use of an Audiogram.

We use the Audiogram as a pretest to determine a participant's hearing ability.