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Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. As an example, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting your hearing tested will be essential in figuring out what’s happening with your hearing.

Now, before you start sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to point out that most hearing tests are rather easy and involve nothing more difficult than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.

But we get it, people don’t like tests. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. Taking some time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more relaxed. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!

How is a hearing test performed?

Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that uncommon. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about on occasion. You might even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?

Well, that’s somewhat misleading. Because it turns out there are a few different hearing tests you may undergo. Each one is designed to measure something different or give you a specific result. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. You listen for a sound on a pair of headphones. You just put up your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you raise your left hand. With this, we can figure out which wavelengths and volumes of sound you can hear. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
  • Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a challenge for you even though you can hear tones clearly. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be more difficult 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 don some headphones. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will consist of audible speech at various volumes to detect the lowest level you’re able to hear a word and still understand it.
  • Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations seldom happen in a vacuum. 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 instead of a quiet one. This can help you determine how well your hearing is working in real-world situations.
  • Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is created to measure the performance of your inner ear. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. This test assesses how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. This test can often detect whether there is a blockage in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working fine there may be some kind of obstruction hindering the sounds).
  • Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to check the general health of your eardrum. 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: 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 reacting to sound. This is accomplished by putting a couple of strategically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. This test is totally 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 kind of testing will help determine 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 detect whether your cochlea is working or, in some situations, if your ear is blocked.

What can we discover from hearing test results?

Chances are, you usually won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.

When we test your hearing, what are we looking for? Well, sometimes the tests you take will reveal the root cause of your hearing loss. In other situations, the test you take may simply eliminate other possible causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.

Generally, your hearing test will uncover:

  • How much your hearing loss has advanced and how serious it is.
  • Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
  • Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
  • Which treatment strategy is best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully offer treatment solutions.

What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s sort of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is very superficial. A test is designed to provide usable information.

It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as you can

So as soon as you observe symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be super stressful, and you don’t have to study. 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.

It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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