Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For example, you can’t actually put your ear up to a speaker and effectively measure what you hear. So getting your hearing tested will be vital in understanding what’s going on with your hearing.
But there’s no need to worry or stress out because a hearing test is about as simple as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a high school 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 making an appointment to get 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 not completely accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of them is designed to assess 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 set of headphones. You simply raise your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you put up your left hand. This will test your ability to hear a variety of wavelengths at a variety of volumes. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be more difficult to hear clearly. 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 various 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 real-time happen 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 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 established by this test. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations travel through your inner ear. If this test establishes that sound is traveling through your ear effectively it could suggest that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to check the general health of your eardrum. This is accomplished 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 detect that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response 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 functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to respond to sound is measured by an ABR test. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is entirely 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 diagnostic is made to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. It does this by tracking the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. If your cochlea isn’t working efficiently or there’s a blockage, 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 pick one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
When we test your hearing, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. In other situations, the test you take may simply eliminate other possible causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are noticing.
Generally, your hearing test will uncover:
- How much your hearing loss has advanced and how serious it is.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- 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 treat your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt analogy. A screening is very superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable information.
The sooner you get tested, the better
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Take it easy, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally painful. If you’re wondering, what should I not 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.