Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is virtually impossible. To illustrate, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by simply putting your ear next to a speaker. That means that if you want to know what’s going on with your hearing, you have to get it tested.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as simple 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. Taking some time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more comfortable. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
We frequently talk about scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your ears checked. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about from time to time. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because you might undergo a number of different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will give you a particular result and is designed to measure something different. 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 put on 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 pitch in your left ear you put up your left hand. This will test your ability to 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 can hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still something of a challenge. 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: Needless to say, conversations in the real world happen in settings where other sounds are present. The only actual difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is carried out in a noisy setting. This mimics real-world situations to help figure out how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be established by this test. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. This test can usually identify whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working fine there may be some sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can reveal whether your eardrum has a hole, 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 feedback 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): The ability of your inner ear and brain to respond to sound is measured by an ABR test. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically 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. 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 do the results of hearing tests reveal?
Chances are, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
What do we look for in a hearing test? Well, sometimes the tests you take will reveal the root cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, 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.
Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had multiple tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
- The best strategy for treating your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable information.
The sooner you get tested, the better
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. 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 you shouldn’t do before you get a hearing test, don’t worry, we will provide you with all of that information.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.