Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is virtually impossible. As an example, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by merely putting your ear next to a speaker. So getting your hearing tested will be essential in figuring out what’s going on with your hearing.
Now, before you begin sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to mention that the majority of hearing tests are quite easy and require nothing more taxing than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
Okay, 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. Taking a little time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more relaxed. A hearing test is about the easiest test you’ll ever take!
What is a hearing test like?
We frequently talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to get your hearing checked. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed from time to time. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.
Well, that’s a bit misleading. Because you may undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will provide you with a specific result and is designed to measure something different. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most aware of. You put on some headphones and you listen for a sound. Hear a pitch in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the tone in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can figure out which wavelengths and volumes of sound you can hear. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. That’s because speech is typically more complex! During 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 focus on tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to identify the lowest level you can hear a word and still comprehend it.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations rarely occur in a vacuum. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is carried out in a noisy setting. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those settings.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is created to measure the function of your inner ear. A little sensor is placed near your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is measured by this test. This test can often identify whether there is a blockage 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: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. This is done using a test called tympanometry. Air will be gently blown into your ear so that we can measure how much movement your eardrum has. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will detect that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. It all occurs by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. This is accomplished by placing a couple of tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. This test is completely painless so don’t worry. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on everyone from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This kind of testing will help identify if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. This is achieved by tracking 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 do the results of hearing tests reveal?
It’s likely, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.
When we do a hearing test, what are we looking for? A hearing test can sometimes expose the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other instances, simply help us eliminate other 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 associated with hearing loss.
- The best strategy for treating 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 advanced and how significant it is.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
What’s the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is a good comparison. A screening is rather superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable data.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first notice symptoms. Don’t worry, this test won’t be very stressful, and you won’t have to study. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or intrusive. If you’re wondering, what should I not do before 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.