Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. To illustrate, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting a hearing test will be essential in understanding what’s going on with your hearing.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress out because a hearing test is about as straightforward as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. Taking a little time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more relaxed. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!
How is a hearing test performed?
Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that uncommon. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you may undergo. Each of these tests will provide you with a specific result and is designed to measure something different. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a tone on a pair of headphones. You just put up your right hand if you hear a pitch in your right ear, and if you hear a tone in your left ear you put up your left hand. With this, we can figure out which wavelengths and volumes of sound you’re able to hear. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, hearing speech is a problem for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. That’s because speech is generally more complex! This test also consists of a set of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at various volumes to determine the lowest volume you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations seldom take place in a vacuum. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is carried out in a noisy setting. This can help you determine how well your hearing is functioning in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is functioning will be established by this test. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. If this test establishes that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. This is accomplished using a test called tympanometry. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can indicate whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and measures the muscle response of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us determine how well it’s working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test attempts to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is entirely painless so don’t worry. That’s why people from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This type of testing will help determine if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. It does this by tracking the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. If your cochlea isn’t working efficiently or there’s a blockage, this test will reveal it.
What do the results of hearing tests reveal?
Chances are, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. Usually, your specific symptoms will determine which of these tests will be appropriate.
What do we look for in a hearing test? Well, in some cases the tests you take will reveal the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take may just eliminate other possible causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
In general, your hearing test will uncover:
- The best strategy for treating your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how serious it is.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is designed to supply usable data.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as possible
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test as soon as you detect symptoms. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be very stressful, and you don’t need to study. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally painful. We will provide you with all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
Which means hearing tests are fairly easy, all you need to do is schedule them.