Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. For example, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and effectively evaluate what you hear. So getting your hearing tested will be vital in figuring out 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 simple as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. You will be more relaxed and more prepared if you take a little time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is probably the simplest test you’ll ever have to take!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing test is something that isn’t that unusual. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed from time to time. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two types of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.
Well, that’s a bit misleading. Because it turns out there are a few different hearing tests you may undergo. Each of these tests will provide you with a particular result and is created to measure something different. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re likely most familiar with. You listen for a tone on a pair of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! This will test your ability to 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 problem for you even though you can hear tones just fine. Speech is generally a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear clearly. This test also features a set of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at various volumes to determine the lowest level you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Obviously, conversations in real-time take place in settings where other sounds are present. 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 can help you figure out how well your hearing is working in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be determined 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 travel 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 might be some kind of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to test the overall 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. 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): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. This is achieved by putting a couple of strategically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. This test is completely 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 track how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. It does this by measuring 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 tell us?
You probably won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
What are we looking for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate 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:
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
- Which treatment strategy will be best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully offer treatment solutions.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? It’s sort of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is really superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as you can
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first detect symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally painful. 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.