If the results of the diagnostic test show your baby has a hearing loss, you are not alone. There are many supports and resources available to you and your child.
Here is a list of questions you may want to take with you to your appointment
You will be learning more about hearing loss in the coming months. Here are some basics you’ll want to know about the information you may receive from the audiologist.
Degrees of hearing:
(impacts noted without amplification/early intervention)
Hearing Loss & Speech:
Mild 20-40 dB loss:
A child can miss 25-40% of speech sounds. May have difficulty hearing soft speech and conversations but can manage in quiet places.
Moderate 41-55 dB loss:
A child will miss 50-75% of spoken language, especially if there is background noise. Speech and language will be delayed without early intervention.
Moderate to Severe 56-70 dB loss:
A child with a loss over 56dB will miss up to 100% of speech sounds. Early intervention is important as there is a high risk for major delays in talking and understanding spoken language.
Severe 71-90 dB loss:
A child may hear loud sounds or voices close to the ear, but normal spoken language is inaudible.
Profound 91 dB or more:
A child will be more aware of sound as vibrations.
What is an Audiogram?:
An audiogram is a graph of the softest levels at which your child can hear sound. It is a picture of the results of the hearing tests that are done by an audiologist. The audiogram will show two things: intensity and frequency. Intensity (loudness) is measured in decibels (dB) and frequency (pitch) is measured in Hertz (Hz). If your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, it is important to understand the level of loss along with the implications for speech and language. This will help you access the services and therapies that your child may need. By learning to read your child’s audiogram, you are empowering yourself as a parent and becoming your child’s biggest advocate!
How to Read an Audiogram
- Decibels (dB): The numbers that are located on the left side of an audiogram and range from -10 at the top (the softest sounds) to 120 on the bottom (the loudest sounds). They represent sound intensity or loudness. A mark on the audiogram at 50 dB means that your child did not respond to the sound until it was as loud as 50 dB.
- Hertz (Hz): The numbers that are either at the top or bottom of an audiogram represent pitch or frequency. Just like a piano’s keyboard, the pitches range from very low on the left side to very high on the right side. Your child’s hearing will be tested at each frequency and a mark on the audiogram noted for how loud each sound must be for your child to hear it. This mark can change from ear to ear and across the frequency scale.
- Keep in Mind: An audiogram gives you an idea of what your child hears in a very quiet environment and should not be interpreted as what your child may hear every day under normal, busy and noisier circumstances. Tell the audiologist if you have any concerns.
Abbreviations to know:
- AC: air conduction
- AD: right
- AS: left
- BC: bone conduction
- CNT: could not test
- DNT: did not test
- HA: hearing aid
- HL: hearing level
- NR: no response
- SAT: speech awareness threshold
- SRT: speech reception threshold
- WNL: within normal limits
If Your Baby Passed
If your baby has passed the audiological diagnostic test and does not have a hearing loss, please be aware that hearing loss can develop later on in a child’s development for a variety of reasons. If you have a family history of hearing loss, your baby should be tested every year. Ear infections that occur as your child grows can also cause hearing loss. If you ever have concerns about your child’s hearing, speech, or language, be sure to discuss this with your audiologist and/or physician.