Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For instance, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and effectively calculate what you hear. So getting your hearing tested will be crucial in figuring out what’s going on with your hearing.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress out because a hearing test is about as simple as putting on a high-tech set of headphones.
Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. 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 prepared if you take some time to get to know these tests. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing test is something that is not that unusual. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because it turns out there are a few different hearing tests you might undergo. Each one is designed to measure something different or give you a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to encounter include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are probably familiar with this hearing test. You put on 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 wavelengths 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 can hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still something challenging. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear with clarity. During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be brought into a quiet room and will, once again, be directed to put on some headphones. 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: Of course, real-world conversations rarely occur in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same process as speech audiometry, but the test takes place in a noisy room rather than 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 functioning will be determined by this test. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. How efficiently sound vibrations travel through the ear is measured by this test. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it may suggest that you have an obstruction.
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. Tympanometry is a test that is used 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 identify 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 measures the muscle response of your inner ear. It all happens by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can reveal 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 putting a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely painless. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This kind of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working effectively. It does this by tracking 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 detect it.
What can we discover from hearing test results?
Chances are, you usually won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. Usually, your specific symptoms will dictate which of these tests will be appropriate.
What are we looking for in a hearing test? Well, sometimes the tests you take will expose the root cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take might simply rule out other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re dealing with will ultimately be determined.
Here are a few things that your hearing test can reveal:
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.
- Which wavelengths of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; others have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
- The best strategy for treating your hearing loss: Once we’ve established what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively offer treatment options.
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how significant it is.
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? It’s sort of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is rather superficial. A test is made to supply usable information.
It’s best to get tested as soon as you can
So as soon as you detect symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test won’t be very stressful, and you won’t need to study. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally painful. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t do before you get a hearing test, don’t worry, we will provide you with all of that information.
Which means hearing tests are pretty easy, all you need to do is schedule them.