Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is virtually impossible. As an example, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting a hearing test will be vital 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 putting on a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests are generally no fun for anybody of any age. Taking some time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more relaxed. A hearing test is probably the easiest test you’ll ever have to take!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about making an appointment to have a hearing test is something that is not that unusual. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You might even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you may undergo. Each of them is designed to assess something different or provide you with a specific result. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a sound on a set of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Put up your right hand. Hear the pitch 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, hearing speech is a challenge for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. Speech is typically a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear with clarity. When you’re having a speech audiometry test, you’ll be brought into a quiet room and will, once again, be directed to don some headphones. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will be comprised of audible speech at various volumes to detect the lowest level you can hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Needless to say, conversations in real-time 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 occurs 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: How well your inner ear is working will be determined by this test. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. This test measures 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 an obstruction.
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. 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. The results of this test can indicate whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device supplies sound to your ear and observes the muscle response 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): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are reacting to sound. This is accomplished 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 properly. This is accomplished by tracking sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. This can detect whether your cochlea is working or, in some situations, if your ear is blocked.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. Usually, your particular symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be relevant.
When we test your hearing, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate other causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re noticing will ultimately be determined.
Here are some things that your hearing test can uncover:
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
- The best strategy for dealing with your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
Is there a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt analogy. A screening is very superficial. A test is designed to supply usable information.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as possible
That’s why it’s important to schedule a hearing test as soon as you notice symptoms. Take it easy, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally painful. We will give you all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
Which means hearing tests are quite easy, all you need to do is schedule them.