Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is pretty much impossible. For example, you can’t really put your ear up to a speaker and subjectively measure what you hear. Which means that if you want to understand what’s happening with your hearing, you have to get it tested.
Now, before you start sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s important to point out that most hearing tests are quite easy and involve nothing more challenging than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, no one likes tests. Tests are generally no fun for anyone of any age. You will be more comfortable and more ready if you take a little time to get to know these tests. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
How is a hearing test done?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing test is something that is not that uncommon. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two types of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because you may undergo a few different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each one is made to measure something different or provide you with a specific result. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most aware of. You put on some headphones and you listen for a sound. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of wavelengths at a variety of volumes. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, you’re able to hear tones very well, but hearing speech remains something of a challenge. Speech is generally a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear with clarity. This test also consists of a set of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to identify the lowest level you can hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Needless to say, conversations in the real world take place in settings where other sounds are present. The only actual difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is carried out in a noisy setting. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is functioning in real-world scenarios.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is created to measure the function of your inner ear. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations travel through your inner ear. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could suggest that you have an obstruction.
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. This is done using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after sending sound to it. It all occurs by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. This is accomplished by placing a couple of strategically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. This test is entirely painless so don’t worry. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to determine how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. This is accomplished by measuring sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s a blockage, this test will detect it.
What do the results of hearing tests reveal?
It’s likely, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take might just rule out other possible causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are noticing.
In general, your hearing test will uncover:
- Which treatment approach will be best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
Is there a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? It’s kind of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is very superficial. A test is made to provide usable data.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as you can
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first notice symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or invasive. We will provide you with all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.