Hearing Tests: Types, Facts, & Diagnosis

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. To illustrate, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting a hearing test will be vital 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 simple as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.

But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests in general are no fun for anyone of any age. You will be more comfortable and more prepared if you take some time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is probably the easiest test you’ll ever take!

What is a hearing test like?

Talking about making an appointment to have a hearing assessment is something that is not that uncommon. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed occasionally. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?

Well, that’s a bit misleading. Because as it happens, there are a number of different hearing tests you may undergo. 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 encounter:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are probably familiar with this hearing test. You wear some headphones and you listen for a tone. You just raise your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a tone in your left ear you put up your left hand. With this, we can figure out which frequencies and volumes of sound you’re able to hear. 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 very well, but hearing speech remains something challenging. Speech is generally a more complex audio spectrum so it can be harder to hear with clarity. This test also is comprised of a pair 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 identify the lowest level you’re able to hear a word and still understand it.
  • Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Obviously, conversations in the real world 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 takes place in a noisy room rather than a quiet one. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those settings.
  • Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be determined by this test. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is tracked by this test. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have a blockage.
  • Tympanometry: Sometimes, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. This is done using a test called tympanometry. Air will be gently blown into your ear so that we can measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can reveal whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and observes the muscle feedback of your inner ear. It all happens by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles can tell us a lot about how well your middle ear is functioning.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. This is accomplished 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 people from grandparents to newborns!
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to determine 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 properly or there’s a blockage, this test will reveal it.

What can we learn from hearing test results?

Chances are, you probably won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.

What are we looking for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take might simply rule out other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re noticing will ultimately be determined.

Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:

  • Which treatment strategy is best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully provide treatment options.
  • Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
  • Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
  • How much your hearing loss has advanced and how serious it is.

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 a lot more in-depth and can provide usable information.

The sooner you get tested, the better

That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first detect symptoms. Relax, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally unpleasant. We will give you 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.

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.


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