Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. As an example, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by merely putting your ear near a speaker. Which means that if you want to understand what’s going on with your hearing, you need to get it tested.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress out because a hearing test is about as easy as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
But we get it, no one likes tests. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. 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?
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” a couple of times. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because you might undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will provide you with a particular result and is created to measure something different. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. You listen for a tone on a pair of headphones. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can establish which frequencies and volumes of sound you’re able to hear. 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 even though you can hear tones clearly. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be more difficult to hear with clarity. During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be directed to put on some headphones. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to detect the lowest level you can hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations almost never happen 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 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 working will be established by this test. A small sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. This test assesses 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: Occasionally, we’ll want to check the general health of your eardrum. This is accomplished 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. 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 reacting to sound. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically placed on your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is totally painless. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This kind of testing will help determine if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. This is achieved by tracking 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 reveal it.
What do the results of hearing tests tell us?
You probably won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. Generally, your particular symptoms will determine which of these tests will be appropriate.
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 circumstances, the test you take might simply 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 reveal:
- Which treatment approach is best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully provide treatment solutions.
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss might have progressed).
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt comparison. A screening is very superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as you can
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test as soon as you observe symptoms. Don’t worry, this test won’t be very stressful, and you won’t have to study. And the tests aren’t painful or intrusive. We will give you 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.