Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is pretty much impossible. As an example, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by simply putting your ear near a speaker. So getting a hearing test will be crucial in understanding what’s happening 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 set of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests in general are no fun for anybody of any age. Taking a little time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more comfortable. A hearing test is about the easiest test you’ll ever have to take!
How is a hearing test performed?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that unusual. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you may undergo. Each one is designed to measure something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to encounter include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a sound on a pair of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of frequencies 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 can hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains somewhat of a challenge. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear with clarity. This test also consists of a set of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you listen to 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: Obviously, conversations in real-time take place in settings where there are other sounds. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same procedure as speech audiometry, but the test occurs in a noisy room instead of a quiet one. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is working in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is made 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. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is measured by this test. This test can usually detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there may be some kind of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to check 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. The results of this test can indicate whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, 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. It all happens by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test attempts to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. This is achieved by putting a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. This test is totally painless so don’t worry. That’s why people from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. This is accomplished by measuring sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s a blockage, this test will detect it.
What do the results of hearing tests tell us?
You most likely won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. We will pick 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? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate other 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:
- Which wavelengths 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 pitches).
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- The best strategy for managing your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to address your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- 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 comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is designed to provide usable information.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as possible
So as soon as you detect symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test won’t be very stressful, and you don’t have to study. 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.