Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is virtually impossible. For example, you can’t actually put your ear up to a speaker and subjectively evaluate what you hear. So getting a hearing test will be crucial in understanding what’s going on with your hearing.
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, no one likes tests. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. You will be more comfortable and more ready if you take a little time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is probably the simplest test you’ll ever take!
What is a hearing test like?
We often talk about scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your ears assessed. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two types of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because you may undergo a few different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will provide you with a particular result and is designed to measure something different. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You wear some headphones and you listen for a sound. You just put up your right hand if you hear a pitch in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you raise your left hand. With this, we can determine which frequencies and volumes of sound you’re able to hear. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a problem for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. That’s because speech is typically more complex! During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, once again, be directed to put on some headphones. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to detect the lowest level you can hear a word and still comprehend it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Needless to say, conversations in the real world occur in settings where other sounds are present. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same process as speech audiometry, but the test takes place in a noisy room rather than a quiet one. This mimics real-world situations to help figure out how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be determined by this test. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. This test measures how well those sound vibrations travel through your inner ear. If this test establishes that sound is traveling 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. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us determine how well it’s working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test attempts to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on 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 properly. It does this by tracking the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. This can identify whether your cochlea is working or, in some cases, if your ear is blocked.
What do the results of hearing tests tell us?
You probably won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. Usually, your particular symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be suitable.
What are we looking for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take may just eliminate other possible causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are noticing.
Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- Which treatment strategy is best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- How much your hearing loss has advanced and how serious it is.
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 really superficial. A test is made to supply usable information.
The sooner you get tested, the better
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test as soon as you notice symptoms. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be super stressful, and you won’t need to study. And the tests aren’t painful or invasive. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t do before you get a hearing test, don’t worry, we will provide you with all of that information.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.