Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. To illustrate, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by merely putting your ear near a speaker. So getting your hearing tested will be vital in figuring out what’s going on with your hearing.
But there’s no need to worry or stress because a hearing test is about as easy as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Tests are generally no fun for anyone of any age. Taking some time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more comfortable. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about making an appointment to have a hearing test is something that isn’t that uncommon. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about on occasion. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.
Well, that’s a bit misleading. Because as it happens, there are a number of different hearing tests you may undergo. Each of them is designed to measure something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re likely most familiar with. You wear some headphones and you listen for a tone. You simply raise your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a pitch in your left ear you put up your left hand. This will test how well you hear a variety of frequencies at a variety of volumes. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, you’re able to hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains somewhat challenging. That’s because speech is typically more complex! This test also features a pair of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to identify the lowest level you can hear a word and still understand it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Obviously, conversations in the real world take place in settings where other sounds are present. The only actual difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed in a noisy setting. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be established by this test. A little sensor is placed near your cochlea and another is placed on your forehead. Sound is then transmitted through a small device. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. This test can often detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working fine there might be some kind of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure exactly how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can reveal whether your eardrum has a hole, 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 feedback of your inner ear. It all happens by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can tell us 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 accomplished by placing a couple of strategically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is completely painless. That’s why everyone from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This type of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. This is achieved by measuring 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 detect it.
What can we learn from hearing test results?
Chances are, you usually 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? A hearing test can sometimes uncover the cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take might simply rule out other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re dealing with will ultimately be determined.
In general, your hearing test will uncover:
- The best strategy for dealing with your hearing loss: Once we’ve established the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively provide treatment options.
- How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
- Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; others have a hard time hearing low sounds).
- Whether you are dealing with hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is made to supply usable data.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as you can
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be very stressful, and you won’t need to study. 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 simple, just call and schedule an appointment.