Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. For instance, you can’t really put your ear next to a speaker and subjectively measure what you hear. Which means that if you want to know what’s going on with your hearing, you need to get it tested.
Now, before you start sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to point out that the majority of hearing tests are rather easy and involve nothing more difficult than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, no one likes 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 comfortable. There’s virtually 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 we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two types of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because you may undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of them is designed to assess something different or give you a specific result. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to experience:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. 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 tone in your left ear you put up your left hand. With this, we can figure out which frequencies and volumes of sound you’re able to hear. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, you can hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still something of a challenge. That’s because speech is generally 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. You will listen to speech at different volumes to determine the lowest level you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Naturally, real-world conversations seldom 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. Two small 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: Occasionally, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. 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. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will identify that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear. It all occurs by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles 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 respond to sound is measured by an ABR test. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically placed on your skull. This test is entirely 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 diagnostic is designed to determine how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. This is accomplished 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 a blockage, this test will detect it.
What do the results of hearing tests tell us?
Chances are, you usually won’t take every single one of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
When we test your hearing, what are we looking for? Well, in some cases the tests you take will reveal the underlying cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us rule out other causes. Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.
Generally, your hearing test will reveal:
- Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
- How much your hearing loss has advanced and how serious it is.
- The best strategy for managing your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? The difference between a quiz and a test is an apt example. A screening is very superficial. A test is made to supply usable information.
The sooner you get tested, the better
So as soon as you observe symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Take it easy, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t painful or intrusive. We will give you all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.
It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.