Hearing loss is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For instance, you can’t actually put your ear up to a speaker and effectively measure what you hear. So getting a hearing test will be crucial in understanding what’s happening with your hearing.
Now, before you start sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to mention that the majority of hearing tests are quite easy and involve nothing more difficult than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests in general are no fun for anybody of any age. You will be more relaxed and more ready if you take a little time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is probably the easiest test you’ll ever have to take!
What is a hearing test like?
We often talk about scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your ears assessed. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. 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 experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a tone on a pair of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! 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, you can hear tones really well, but hearing speech is still somewhat 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 directed to put on some headphones. You will listen to speech at various volumes to determine the lowest level you can hear words and clearly understand them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Needless to say, conversations in the real world occur 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 situations.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure the function of your inner ear. Two small 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. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could suggest that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. This is done using a test called tympanometry. 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 identify that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. 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 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. This test is totally painless so don’t worry. 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 measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. It does this by measuring the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. This can identify whether your cochlea is working or, in some cases, if your ear is blocked.
What can we learn from hearing test results?
You most likely won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
When we test your hearing, what are we looking for? Well, in some cases the tests you take will expose the root cause of your hearing loss. In other situations, the test you take might just eliminate other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re dealing with will ultimately be determined.
Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:
- Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a difficult time hearing high wavelengths; others have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
- Which treatment approach is best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully offer treatment solutions.
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken multiple tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have progressed).
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
What is 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 really superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first observe symptoms. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be super stressful, and you don’t need to study. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally painful. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t do before a hearing test, don’t worry, we will provide you with all of that information.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.