Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For example, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively evaluate what you hear. Which means that if you want to understand what’s happening with your hearing, you have to take a test.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress out because a hearing test is about as easy as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests are generally no fun for anyone of any age. You will be more relaxed and more ready if you take a little 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?
We frequently talk about scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist to get your hearing tested. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed occasionally. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s slightly 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 specific result and is designed to measure something different. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are probably familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a tone on a set of headphones. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! This will test your ability to 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, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. Speech is generally a more complex audio spectrum so it can be harder to hear with clarity. When you’re having a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be instructed to put on some headphones. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will be comprised of audible speech at different volumes to identify the lowest level you can hear a word and still comprehend it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations seldom occur in a vacuum. The only actual difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed in a noisy setting. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is working in real-world scenarios.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is created to measure the performance of your inner ear. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. How effectively sound vibrations travel through the ear is tracked by this test. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. 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 observes the muscle feedback of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us identify how well it’s working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. This is accomplished by putting a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is totally painless. That’s why people 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 properly. This is achieved by tracking sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. This can determine whether your cochlea is working or, in some cases, if your ear is blocked.
What do the results of hearing tests reveal?
You probably won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best address 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 expose the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take might simply rule out other possible causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
Here are some things that your hearing test can uncover:
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- Which frequency of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some people have a difficult time hearing high frequencies; other people have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
- How severe your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have progressed).
- Which treatment approach will be best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully provide treatment solutions.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt example. 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 as soon as you detect symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally unpleasant. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t do before a hearing test, don’t worry, we will have all of that information for you.
Which means hearing tests are pretty easy, all you need to do is schedule them.