Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is pretty much impossible. For example, you can’t actually put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively calculate 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 straightforward as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests in general are no fun for anybody of any age. You will be more comfortable 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 done?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to have a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that unusual. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two types of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s slightly misleading. Because you might undergo a few different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each one is designed to assess something different or give you a specific result. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. You put on some headphones and you listen for a tone. Hear a pitch 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: In some cases, you’re able to hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains somewhat challenging. That’s because speech is typically more complex! This test also features a set of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will consist of audible speech at various volumes to detect the lowest level you can hear a word and still comprehend it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations seldom take place 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 rather than a quiet one. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is working in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be established by this test. A little sensor is placed near your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. Sound is then transmitted through a small device. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is measured by this test. This test can often identify whether there is a blockage in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there might be some kind of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. This is done using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and measures the muscle response of your inner ear. It all occurs by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically placed on your skull. This test is entirely painless so don’t worry. That’s why people from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is made to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. 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 do the results of hearing tests tell us?
You probably won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
What do we look for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other instances, simply help us rule out other causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re noticing will ultimately be determined.
Here are some things that your hearing test can uncover:
- The best strategy for dealing with your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively offer treatment solutions.
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss might have progressed).
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- Which frequency of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some individuals have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; other people have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is very superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable data.
The sooner you take this test, the better
So as soon as you observe symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. 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.
Which means hearing tests are quite easy, all you need to do is schedule them.