Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to self-diagnose. As an example, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. That means that if you want to know what’s happening with your hearing, you have to get it tested.
Now, before you begin sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to point out that the majority of hearing tests are rather easy and require nothing more taxing than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. Taking a little time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more relaxed. A hearing test is probably the simplest test you’ll ever take!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing test is something that is not that uncommon. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because you may undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of them is made to measure something different or give you a specific result. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You wear some headphones and you listen for a sound. 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. This will test your ability to hear a variety of frequencies at a variety of volumes. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a problem for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. That’s because speech is generally more complex! This test also is comprised of a pair of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at different 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 occur in settings where there are other sounds. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same process as speech audiometry, but the test takes place 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 created to measure the function of your inner ear. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. How efficiently sound vibrations move through the ear is measured 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 perfectly there might be some kind of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to 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 reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device supplies sound to your ear and measures the muscle response of your inner ear. It all happens by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is 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 strategically 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. 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 an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What do the results of hearing tests reveal?
Chances are, you usually won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? Well, sometimes the tests you take will reveal the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take may just eliminate other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re noticing will ultimately be determined.
In general, your hearing test will uncover:
- Which treatment strategy will be best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
Is there a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test as soon as you detect symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or invasive. If you’re wondering, what should I not do before a hearing test, don’t worry, we will have all of that information for you.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.