Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is pretty much impossible. As an example, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. Which means that if you want to understand what’s going on with your hearing, you have to get it tested.
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 pair of headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests in general are no fun for anyone of any age. Taking a little time to get to know 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 done?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that is not that uncommon. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s a bit misleading. Because you might undergo a number of different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will provide you with a specific result and is designed to measure something different. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a sound on a pair of headphones. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the pitch 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, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. That’s because speech is generally more complex! This test also is comprised of a set of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at various volumes to determine the lowest volume you can hear words and clearly understand them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Obviously, conversations in real-time happen in settings where there are other sounds. The only actual difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is carried out in a noisy setting. 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 functioning will be established by this test. 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 usually identify whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there might be some sort of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. 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: A tiny device measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear after sending sound to it. It all happens by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles 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. This is achieved by placing a couple of strategically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is totally painless. 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 properly. It does this by measuring the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. This can determine whether your cochlea is working or, in some cases, if your ear is blocked.
What can we learn 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 address your symptoms and then go from there.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes uncover the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us rule out other causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re dealing with will ultimately be determined.
In general, your hearing test will reveal:
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how significant it is.
- Which wavelengths of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; other people have a hard time hearing low sounds).
- The best strategy for managing your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
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 data.
The sooner you get tested, the better
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test when you first observe symptoms. Relax, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t painful or intrusive. We will give you all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.