Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. To illustrate, you can’t really evaluate your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting your hearing tested will be crucial in figuring out what’s going on with your hearing.
Now, before you start sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to point out that most hearing tests are very easy and involve nothing more taxing than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, no one likes tests. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. You will be more comfortable and more ready if you take a little time to get to know these tests. A hearing test is probably the simplest test you’ll ever have to take!
How is a hearing test performed?
We frequently 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 you may undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will give you a specific result and is created 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 sound on a pair of headphones. You simply put up your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a tone in your left ear you raise 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: Sometimes, hearing speech is a challenge 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 directed to put on some headphones. Instead of making you focus on tones, this test will be comprised of audible speech at different volumes to detect the lowest level you can hear a word and still comprehend it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations rarely occur in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same procedure as speech audiometry, but the test occurs in a noisy room instead of a quiet one. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is functioning in real-world scenarios.
- 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 one on your cochlea. Sound is then transmitted through a small device. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations travel through your inner ear. If this test establishes that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could suggest that you have a blockage.
- Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to check the overall health of your eardrum. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. 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 feedback of your inner ear after sending sound to it. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us determine how well it’s working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. To accomplish this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on 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 diagnostic is made to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. This is achieved by measuring sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.
What can we learn from hearing test results?
It’s likely, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best address 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 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 reveal:
- Which treatment approach will be best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s kind 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 information.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test when you first notice symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally unpleasant. 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.
Which means hearing tests are pretty easy, all you need to do is schedule them.