Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. For instance, you can’t really put your ear up to a speaker and subjectively evaluate what you hear. That 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 worry or stress out because a hearing test is about as easy as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests in general are no fun for anybody of any age. You will be more comfortable and more ready if you take a little time to get to know these tests. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that unusual. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You may even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because you may undergo a few different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of them is designed to assess something different or provide you with a specific result. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. You listen for a sound on a set of headphones. You just raise your right hand if you hear a pitch in your right ear, and if you hear a tone in your left ear you raise your left hand. This will test your ability to 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, you can hear tones really well, but hearing speech is still somewhat of a challenge. Speech is typically a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear clearly. During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, once again, be instructed to put on some headphones. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will consist 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 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 performed in a noisy setting. This can help you determine how well your hearing is working in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is created to measure the performance of your inner ear. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. How efficiently sound vibrations move through the ear is tracked by this test. This test can usually detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working fine there could be some sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to check the overall health of your eardrum. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear so that we can 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 detect that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and observes the muscle feedback of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us determine how well it’s working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. This is achieved by placing a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely painless. That’s why everyone from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This kind of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working effectively. It does this by measuring the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. If your cochlea isn’t working efficiently or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
Chances are, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate other causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:
- How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
- Which treatment strategy is best for your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
What’s 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 rather superficial. A test is designed to provide usable data.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as you can
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test as soon as you detect symptoms. Relax, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or invasive. 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.
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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.