Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For example, you can’t really put your ear up 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 start sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to point out that most hearing tests are very easy and require nothing more difficult than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, no one likes tests. Tests in general are no fun for anyone of any age. You will be more relaxed and more prepared if you take a little time to get to know these tests. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
We frequently talk about scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist to get your ears tested. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed on occasion. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.
Well, that’s somewhat misleading. Because you might undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will give you a particular result and is designed to measure something different. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re likely most aware of. You listen for a sound on a set of headphones. You just raise your right hand if you hear a pitch in your right ear, and if you hear a tone in your left ear you put up your left hand. 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’re able to hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still something challenging. That’s because speech is generally more complex! When you’re having a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, once again, be instructed to don some headphones. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will be comprised of audible speech at different volumes to detect the lowest level you’re able to hear a word and still comprehend it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations rarely take place 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 determine how well your hearing is working in real-world scenarios.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is functioning will be established by this test. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is measured by this test. This test can often detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working fine there might be some sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. This is done using a test called tympanometry. Air will be gently blown into your ear so that we can measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can identify 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 observes 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 working.
- 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 strategically placed on your skull. This test is completely painless so don’t worry. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. This is accomplished by tracking sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. If your cochlea isn’t working efficiently or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we learn 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.
When we test your hearing, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes uncover the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us rule out other causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re dealing with will ultimately be determined.
Here are a few 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 severe it is.
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- Which treatment strategy will be best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s kind of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is very superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be super stressful, and you won’t need to study. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or invasive. We will provide you with all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.