Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For instance, you can’t really put your ear up to a speaker and subjectively calculate what you hear. 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 simple as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests in general are no fun for anyone of any age. You will be more comfortable and more prepared if you take some time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is about the simplest test you’ll ever take!
How is a hearing test done?
We often talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to get your ears checked. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed on occasion. You might even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not completely accurate. Because it turns out there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of them is made to measure something different or provide you with 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 sound on a set of headphones. You just raise your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you raise your left hand. With this, we can determine which frequencies and volumes of sound you can hear. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a problem for you even though you can hear tones clearly. That’s because speech is generally more complex! During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be directed to don some headphones. You will listen to speech at various 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. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed 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 designed to measure the performance of your inner ear. A small sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is placed on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. How efficiently sound vibrations move through the ear is measured by this test. This test can usually detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working fine there could be some kind of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear so that we can measure how much movement your eardrum has. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will identify that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear after sending sound to it. 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. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely painless. 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 effectively. This is accomplished by measuring sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. This can identify whether your cochlea is working or, in some situations, if your ear is blocked.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
You probably won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
What do we look for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take may just rule out other possible causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
In general, your hearing test will reveal:
- How severe your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken multiple tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have progressed).
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- Which wavelengths of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some individuals have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; others have a hard time hearing low pitches).
- The best approach for treating your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can provide usable data.
The sooner you get tested, the better
So as soon as you detect symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Relax, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally unpleasant. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t do before a hearing test, don’t worry, we will have all of that information for you.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.