Self-diagnosing hearing loss is virtually impossible. For example, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively calculate what you hear. That means that if you want to understand what’s happening with your hearing, you need to take a test.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as simple as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. 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. A hearing test is probably the easiest test you’ll ever take!
How is a hearing test performed?
We frequently talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your hearing checked. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. You may even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s slightly misleading. Because you might undergo a few different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each one is designed to assess something different or provide you with a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You put on some headphones and you listen for a tone. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of frequencies at a variety of volumes. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, hearing speech is a challenge for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. Speech is generally a more complex audio range so it can be more difficult to hear clearly. This test also is comprised of a set of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at different volumes to determine the lowest level you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Needless to say, conversations in the real world happen in settings where there are other sounds. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed in a noisy setting. This mimics real-world situations to help figure out how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is functioning will be determined by this test. A little sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is placed on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. This test measures how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. This test can usually detect whether there is a blockage in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working fine there may be some kind of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can reveal 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 observes the muscle response of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us discover how well it’s functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically placed on your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely painless. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This type of testing will help determine if your inner ear and cochlea are working effectively. 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 an obstruction, this test will detect it.
What do the results of hearing tests reveal?
You probably won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. Generally, your specific symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be relevant.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? Well, in some cases the tests you take will reveal the root cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other cases, simply help us rule out other causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are noticing.
Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- Which treatment approach is best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively offer treatment solutions.
- How much your hearing loss has advanced and how severe it is.
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s sort of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is really superficial. A test is made to provide usable information.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test when you first observe symptoms. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be super stressful, and you don’t have to study. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally unpleasant. We will provide you with all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.