Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. To illustrate, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by simply putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting a hearing test will be crucial in understanding what’s happening with your hearing.
But there’s no need to worry or stress out because a hearing test is about as straightforward as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.
But we get it, no one likes tests. Tests are generally no fun for anybody of any age. Taking some time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more comfortable. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
How is a hearing test done?
Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that is not that unusual. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. You may even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because you may undergo a few different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of them is made to assess something different or provide you with a specific result. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You put on some headphones and you listen for a sound. Hear a tone in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of wavelengths 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, you’re able to hear tones really well, but hearing speech is still somewhat of a challenge. Speech is generally a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear with clarity. When you’re having a speech audiometry test, you’ll be brought into a quiet room and will, again, be directed to put on some headphones. 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: Obviously, 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 determine how well your hearing is working in real-world scenarios.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is made to measure the performance of your inner ear. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. 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 may indicate that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to test the overall health of your eardrum. This is accomplished using a test called tympanometry. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can identify whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device supplies 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): The ability of your inner ear and brain to respond to sound is measured by an ABR test. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is entirely painless so don’t worry. That’s why everyone from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure 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 reveal it.
What do the results of hearing tests tell us?
It’s likely, you probably won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. Generally, your particular symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be relevant.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? Well, sometimes the tests you take will uncover the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other situations, the test you take may just eliminate other possible 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 advanced and how significant it is.
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; others have a tough time hearing low pitches).
- 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 successfully provide treatment options.
Is there a 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 made to supply usable data.
The sooner you get tested, the better
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t painful or invasive. 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.