Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For instance, you can’t actually put your ear next to a speaker and effectively evaluate what you hear. Which means that if you want to understand what’s happening with your hearing, you need to take a test.
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 set of headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. 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 easiest test you’ll ever have to take!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing test is something that is not that uncommon. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about from time to time. 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 as it happens, there are a number of different hearing tests you might undergo. Each one is made 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: This is the hearing test you’re likely most familiar with. You listen for a tone on a set of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can figure out which wavelengths and volumes of sound you can hear. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a challenge for you even though you can hear tones just fine. That’s because speech is typically more complex! When you’re having 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 process as speech audiometry, but the test occurs in a noisy room instead of a quiet one. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those situations.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is designed 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 measured by this test. This test can often identify whether there is a blockage in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working fine there might be some sort of obstruction hindering the sounds).
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. 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. The results of this test can identify 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 measures the muscle response of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us identify how well it’s functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test attempts to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. This is achieved by putting a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is totally painless. That’s why everyone from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is made to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. 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 efficiently or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
You most likely won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.
What are we looking for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes uncover the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other cases, simply help us rule out other causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
Here are a few things that your hearing test can uncover:
- Which treatment strategy is best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- 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’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- Which frequency of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some individuals have a difficult time hearing high frequencies; other people have a hard time hearing low sounds).
Is there a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt example. A screening is rather superficial. A test is designed to supply usable data.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as possible
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first detect symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally painful. 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.