Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is virtually impossible. For instance, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively calculate what you hear. So getting your hearing tested will be crucial in figuring out what’s going on with your hearing.
Now, before you begin sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s important to mention that most hearing tests are very easy and involve nothing more taxing than wearing a pair of fancy 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. You will be more relaxed and more ready if you take some time to get to know these tests. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!
How is a hearing test done?
Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing test is something that is not that unusual. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about occasionally. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two types 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 number of different hearing tests you may undergo. Each of these tests will give you a specific result and is created to measure something different. The hearing tests you’re most likely to encounter include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re likely most familiar with. You put on some headphones and you listen for a sound. You just raise your right hand if you hear a pitch in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you put up your left hand. With this, we can figure out which wavelengths 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, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. That’s because speech is generally more complex! During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be instructed to put on some headphones. 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 other sounds are present. 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 determine 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 little sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is placed on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. How efficiently sound vibrations move through the ear is tracked by this test. If this test establishes that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have an obstruction.
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can indicate whether your eardrum has a hole, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- 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 the movements of your muscles can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are reacting to sound. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely 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. This is achieved by tracking sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. If your cochlea isn’t working efficiently or there’s a blockage, this test will reveal it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
It’s likely, you probably won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best address 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. The hearing test you take 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.
In general, your hearing test will reveal:
- How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have progressed).
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
- The best approach for treating your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively offer treatment solutions.
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? It’s kind of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is really superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable information.
It’s best to get tested as soon as you can
So as soon as you observe symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test won’t be super stressful, and you won’t have to study. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or invasive. If you’re wondering, what should I not do before you get a hearing test, don’t worry, we will have all of that information for you.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.