Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. For instance, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively calculate 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 important to mention that the majority of hearing tests are quite easy and involve nothing more difficult than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.
Okay, 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 easiest test you’ll ever have to take!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that uncommon. And we’ve probably 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 as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of these tests will provide you with a specific result and is designed 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 probably most familiar with. You listen for a tone on a pair of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can figure out which wavelengths and volumes of sound you’re able to hear. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, you can hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still something of a challenge. That’s because speech is typically more complex! When you’re having a speech audiometry test, you’ll be brought into a quiet room and will, once 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: Needless to say, conversations in the real world occur in settings where there are other sounds. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is carried out in a noisy setting. This mimics real-world situations to help figure out how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is made to measure the function of your inner ear. A small sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. Sound is then transmitted through a small device. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is measured by this test. 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 may be some sort of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to check the overall health of your eardrum. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure exactly how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can reveal 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 feedback of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us determine how well it’s functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically 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 kind of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. 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 do the results of hearing tests reveal?
You most likely won’t need 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 are we looking for in a hearing test? Well, sometimes the tests you take will expose the underlying cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other instances, simply help us rule out other causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how significant it is.
- The best strategy for treating your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively provide treatment solutions.
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? 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 a hearing test as soon as possible
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Relax, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t painful or intrusive. 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.