Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. To illustrate, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by merely putting your ear near a speaker. Which means that if you want to know what’s happening with your hearing, you need to get it tested.
Now, before you start sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to mention that most hearing tests are rather easy and require nothing more challenging than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. Taking some time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more comfortable. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to have a hearing test is something that is not that unusual. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You may even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s slightly misleading. Because it turns out there are a number of different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of these tests will give you a particular result and is created to measure something different. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You put on some headphones and you listen for a tone. Hear a tone in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of wavelengths at a variety of volumes. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a challenge for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. Speech is typically a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear clearly. This test also is comprised of a set of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will be comprised of audible speech at various volumes to detect the lowest level you can hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations almost never take place 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 figure out how your hearing is working in those situations.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be established 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. How effectively sound vibrations travel through the ear is measured by this test. This test can usually identify whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there could be some sort of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: Sometimes, we’ll want to test the overall health of your eardrum. This is accomplished using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little device will gently push air into your ear and measure exactly how much your eardrum moves. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will detect that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and observes the muscle response of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us discover how well it’s functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is totally painless so don’t worry. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on everyone 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 measuring the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
What are we looking for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. In other situations, the test you take might simply rule out other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re experiencing will ultimately be determined.
Generally, your hearing test will uncover:
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.
- Which treatment approach will be best for your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss might have progressed).
Is there a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? It’s kind of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is really superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can supply usable data.
The sooner you take this test, the better
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first notice symptoms. Relax, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally unpleasant. 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.