Types, Facts, and Diagnosis of Hearing Tests

Hearing test showing ear of young woman with sound waves simulation technology - isolated on white banner - black and white.

Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is basically impossible. For example, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively evaluate what you hear. So getting your hearing tested will be crucial in understanding what’s going on with your hearing.

But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as straightforward as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.

But we get it, no one likes tests. Tests are generally no fun for anyone of any age. You will be more comfortable and more prepared if you take a little time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is about the simplest test you’ll ever take!

What is a hearing test like?

We often talk about scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist to get your hearing checked. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed from time to time. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.

Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because it turns out there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of them is designed to measure something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You put on some headphones and you listen for a tone. Hear a tone 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 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, you’re able to hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains something challenging. That’s because speech is generally more complex! This test also is comprised of a pair of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at different volumes to determine the lowest level you can hear words and clearly understand them.
  • Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations almost never take place in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same procedure as speech audiometry, but the test takes place in a noisy room instead of a quiet one. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is functioning in real-world scenarios.
  • Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is made to measure the function of your inner ear. A small sensor is placed near your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. Sound is then sent through a small device. This test measures how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. If this test determines that sound is traveling through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have an obstruction.
  • Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. This is done using a test called tympanometry. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will identify that.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after sending sound to it. It all occurs by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can tell us 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 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 diagnostic is made 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. This can identify whether your cochlea is working or, in some cases, if your ear is blocked.

What do the results of hearing tests reveal?

You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. Generally, your specific symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be appropriate.

What do we look for in a hearing test? Well, in some cases the tests you take will expose the root cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take might just rule out other possible causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.

Generally, your hearing test will uncover:

  • The best approach for managing your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
  • Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
  • How severe your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss might have progressed).
  • Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.

Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is very superficial. A test is made to supply usable information.

The sooner you take this test, the better

That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first notice symptoms. Don’t worry, this test won’t be super stressful, and you don’t have to study. And the tests aren’t painful or invasive. 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.

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.