Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is pretty much impossible. As an example, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by simply putting your ear near a speaker. So getting your hearing tested will be crucial in figuring out what’s happening with your hearing.
Now, before you begin sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to mention that most hearing tests are very easy and require nothing more taxing than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. Taking some time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more relaxed. A hearing test is probably the easiest test you’ll ever have to take!
How is a hearing test performed?
We often talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your ears tested. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about occasionally. You may 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 number of different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of them is made to assess something different or provide you with a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are probably familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a sound on a pair of headphones. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can determine 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, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. Speech is generally a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear with clarity. This test also consists of a set of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to identify the lowest level you can hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations rarely occur in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same procedure as speech audiometry, but the test takes place in a noisy room instead of a quiet one. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those situations.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is functioning will be determined by this test. A small sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. Sound is then sent through a small device. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. This test can often detect whether there is a blockage in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working fine there could be some kind of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. This is done using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device supplies sound to your ear and measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear. It all happens 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 responding to sound. This is accomplished 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 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 effectively. 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 efficiently or there’s a blockage, this test will detect it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
You most likely won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. Usually, your specific symptoms will determine which of these tests will be appropriate.
What do we look for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate other causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are noticing.
Generally, your hearing test will reveal:
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- The best strategy for managing your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
Is there a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is really superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can supply usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first notice symptoms. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be super stressful, and you won’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 easy, just call and schedule an appointment.