Hearing Tests: Types, Facts, & Diagnosis

Hearing test showing ear of young woman with sound waves simulation technology - isolated on white banner - black and white.

Self-diagnosing hearing loss is basically impossible. To illustrate, you can’t really measure 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 need to take a test.

Now, before you start sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to mention that most hearing tests are quite easy and involve nothing more taxing than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.

But we get it, people don’t like tests. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. You will be more relaxed and more prepared if you take a little time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is about the simplest test you’ll ever have to take!

What is a hearing test like?

We frequently talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your hearing checked. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two types 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 assess something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You put on some headphones and you listen for a sound. You just raise your right hand if you hear a pitch in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you put up your left hand. With this, we can determine which wavelengths and volumes of sound you’re able to 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 problem for you even though you can hear tones just fine. That’s because speech is generally more complex! When you’re having a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be instructed to don some headphones. 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 take place in settings where other sounds are present. The only real 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: 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. Sound is then sent through a small device. How efficiently sound vibrations move through the ear is tracked by this test. This test can often identify 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 sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
  • Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to test the overall health of your eardrum. This is done using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little device will gently push air into your ear and measure exactly how much your eardrum moves. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will reveal that.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. It all happens by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles can tell us a lot about how well your middle ear is functioning.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to respond to sound is measured by an ABR test. 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 track how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. 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 properly or there’s a blockage, this test will reveal it.

What can we learn from hearing test results?

You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. Usually, your specific symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be suitable.

When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes uncover the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other instances, simply help us rule out other causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re noticing will ultimately be determined.

Here are a few things that your hearing test can reveal:

  • The best strategy for dealing with your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
  • How severe your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss might have advanced).
  • Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
  • Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.

Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good example. A screening is really superficial. A test is designed to supply usable data.

It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as you can

So as soon as you observe symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. 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.

It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.