Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is basically impossible. To illustrate, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by simply putting your ear near a speaker. That means that if you want to know what’s happening with your hearing, you need to get it tested.
Now, before you begin sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to mention that the majority of hearing tests are rather easy and involve nothing more challenging than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. Taking some time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more relaxed. A hearing test is about the simplest test you’ll ever have to take!
How is a hearing test done?
Talking about making an appointment to have a hearing test is something that is not that uncommon. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You may even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s somewhat misleading. Because it turns out there are a number of different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of them is made to measure something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to encounter include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. You listen for a tone on a set of headphones. You simply raise 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 clearly. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear clearly. This test also features a pair of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at different volumes to determine the lowest volume you can hear words and clearly understand them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations almost never occur in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same process as speech audiometry, but the test takes place in a noisy room rather than a quiet one. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is designed 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. How effectively sound vibrations travel through the ear is measured by this test. If this test determines that sound is traveling through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have an obstruction.
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to check the general health of your eardrum. 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. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us discover 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 achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is totally painless so don’t worry. That’s why people from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This kind of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. This is accomplished by tracking sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. This can determine whether your cochlea is working or, in some situations, if your ear is blocked.
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 determine which of these tests will be appropriate.
What are we looking for in a hearing test? Well, sometimes the tests you take will expose the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take might simply rule out other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re experiencing will ultimately be determined.
Generally, your hearing test will uncover:
- Which frequency of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high frequencies; other people have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
- 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’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how serious it is.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s kind of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is rather superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable information.
The sooner you take this test, the better
So as soon as you detect symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test won’t be very stressful, and you don’t have to study. 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.