Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. For example, you can’t actually put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively calculate what you hear. That means that if you want to know what’s going on with your hearing, you need to get it tested.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as straightforward as putting on a high-tech set 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 just generally no fun. You will be more relaxed and more prepared if you take some time to get to know these tests. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!
How is a hearing test done?
We often talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your ears assessed. 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 slightly misleading. Because you may undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of them is made to measure something different or provide you with a specific result. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a sound on a set of headphones. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can establish which frequencies and volumes of sound you can hear. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, you’re able to hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still somewhat challenging. Speech is generally a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear with clarity. This test also is comprised of a set of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will consist of audible speech at various volumes to detect the lowest level you’re able to hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations almost never happen in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same process as speech audiometry, but the test occurs in a noisy room instead of a quiet one. This can help you determine how well your hearing is functioning in real-world situations.
- 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 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. If this test establishes that sound is moving through your ear effectively it may suggest that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized 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 reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. It all occurs by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can tell us a lot about how well your middle ear is functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries 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 completely painless so don’t worry. That’s why everyone from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This type of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working effectively. 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 properly or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
It’s likely, you probably won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? Well, sometimes the tests you take will reveal the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take might simply 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 uncover:
- Which treatment approach is best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully offer treatment options.
- Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a difficult time hearing high wavelengths; others have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.
- How much your hearing loss has advanced and how serious it is.
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 very superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can supply usable data.
The sooner you get tested, the better
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test when you first detect symptoms. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be very stressful, and you don’t need to study. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally unpleasant. If you’re wondering, what should I not do before a hearing test, don’t worry, we will provide you with all of that information.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.