Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is basically impossible. As an example, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by simply putting your ear next to a speaker. Which means that if you want to understand what’s going on with your hearing, you need to take a test.
But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as easy as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.
But we get it, no one likes tests. Tests are generally no fun for anybody of any age. You will be more relaxed and more ready if you take a little 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 assessment is something that isn’t that unusual. And we’ve probably used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. You may even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because you may undergo a few different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each one is made to assess something different or provide you with 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 aware of. You wear some headphones and you listen for a tone. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! This will test how well you hear a variety of wavelengths at a variety of volumes. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: In some cases, hearing speech is a problem for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. That’s because speech is typically more complex! During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be instructed to don some headphones. You will listen to speech at various volumes to determine the lowest level you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Obviously, conversations in the real world take place in settings where there are other sounds. The only real 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: 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 assesses how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. If this test establishes that sound is traveling through your ear effectively it could suggest that you have an obstruction.
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. This is done using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a small device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can reveal whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. 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 tactically placed electrodes on the outside of your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is totally painless. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on everyone from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is made to determine how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. This is accomplished 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 detect it.
What can we learn from hearing test results?
It’s likely, you probably 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 do a hearing test, what are we looking for? Well, in some cases the tests you take will expose the root cause of your hearing loss. In other cases, the test you take might simply eliminate other possible causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are noticing.
Here are some 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 managing your hearing loss: Once we’ve established the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively provide treatment solutions.
- How profound your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve had numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? It’s kind of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is rather superficial. A test is designed to supply usable information.
It’s best to get tested as soon as possible
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. Relax, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally painful. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t 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.