Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For instance, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively measure what you hear. Which means that if you want to know what’s happening with your hearing, you need to take a test.
Now, before you begin sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to point out that the majority of hearing tests are rather easy and involve nothing more difficult than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests in general are no fun for anybody of any age. Taking some time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more comfortable. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
How is a hearing test done?
We frequently talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to get your ears tested. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about on occasion. You may even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not completely accurate. Because you might undergo a number of different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will give you a specific result and is created to measure something different. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a tone on a set 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. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, you’re able to hear tones very well, but hearing speech remains somewhat of a challenge. That’s because speech is typically more complex! This test also is comprised of 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: Of course, real-world conversations seldom 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 can help you figure out how well your hearing is functioning in real-world scenarios.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be established by this test. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. How efficiently sound vibrations travel through the ear is tracked by this test. If this test establishes that sound is traveling through your ear effectively it could suggest that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. This is accomplished using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can indicate whether your eardrum has a hole, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and measures the muscle response of your inner ear. It all happens by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test attempts to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. This is achieved by placing a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. This test is entirely painless so don’t worry. That’s why people from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is made to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. It does this by tracking the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
It’s likely, you usually won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.
What do we look for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes uncover the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate other causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
In general, your hearing test will reveal:
- Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a difficult time hearing high wavelengths; others have a tough time hearing low pitches).
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had multiple tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have progressed).
- The best approach for treating your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully provide treatment solutions.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is very superficial. A test is made to supply usable information.
The sooner you take this test, the better
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first detect symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally painful. We will give you all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.