Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. To illustrate, you can’t really evaluate your level of hearing by simply putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting a hearing test will be vital in figuring out what’s going on with your hearing.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as simple as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests are generally no fun for anybody of any age. You will be more comfortable 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 performed?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing test is something that is not that unusual. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about from time to time. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not completely accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. Each one is made to measure something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to encounter include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You put on some headphones and you listen for a sound. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of wavelengths at a variety of volumes. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, you’re able to hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains something challenging. Speech is typically a more complex audio spectrum so it can be harder to hear clearly. This test also is comprised of a set of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at various 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 other sounds are present. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed in a noisy setting. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure the performance of your inner ear. 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 tracked by this test. If this test establishes that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. 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 indicate whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device supplies sound to your ear and observes 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 working.
- 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 strategically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely painless. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This kind of testing will help determine 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. This can detect whether your cochlea is working or, in some situations, if your ear is blocked.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
You probably won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. Usually, your particular symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be appropriate.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take might simply eliminate other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re experiencing will ultimately be determined.
In general, your hearing test will reveal:
- How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had multiple tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- The best strategy for treating your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively offer treatment solutions.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable information.
The sooner you get tested, the better
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test as soon as you detect symptoms. Don’t worry, this test won’t be super stressful, and you don’t need to study. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally painful. We will provide you with 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.