Self-diagnosing hearing loss is virtually impossible. For example, you can’t actually put your ear up to a speaker and effectively evaluate what you hear. That means that if you want to understand what’s happening with your hearing, you have to get it tested.
Now, before you begin sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s important to mention that the majority of hearing tests are very easy and involve nothing more difficult than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests are generally no fun for anybody of any age. Taking a little time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more relaxed. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!
What is a hearing test like?
Talking about scheduling an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that is not that uncommon. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about occasionally. You may even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because as it happens, there are a few different hearing tests you may undergo. 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 encounter include the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re probably most familiar with. 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! With this, we can establish which frequencies and volumes of sound you can hear. It will also measure whether you have more significant hearing loss in one ear than the other.
- Speech audiometry: Sometimes, hearing speech is a challenge for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. That’s because speech is generally more complex! During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be led into a quiet room and will, again, be directed to put on some headphones. You will listen to speech at different volumes to determine the lowest volume you can hear words and clearly understand them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations seldom take place 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 instead of a quiet one. This can help you determine how well your hearing is working in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is made to measure the performance of your inner ear. A little sensor is placed near your cochlea and another is placed on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. How effectively sound vibrations move through the ear is tracked by this test. This test can often detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there could be some kind of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. This is accomplished using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little 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 reveal that.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after sending sound to it. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us identify how well it’s functioning.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is totally painless so don’t worry. That’s why people from newborns to grandparents get this test.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. It does this by tracking the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. This can identify whether your cochlea is working or, in some cases, if your ear is blocked.
What do the results of hearing tests tell us?
You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.
What do we look for in a hearing test? Well, sometimes the tests you take will expose the underlying cause of your hearing loss. In other circumstances, the test you take might just rule out other possible causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re noticing will ultimately be determined.
Generally, your hearing test will uncover:
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
- The best approach for managing your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve determined the cause.
- Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; other people have a difficult time hearing low pitches).
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s sort of like the difference between a quiz and a test. A screening is very superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable information.
It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as possible
So as soon as you notice symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. Take it easy, you won’t have to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or intrusive. If you’re wondering, what should I not do before you get a hearing test, don’t worry, we will have all of that information for you.
It’s simple, just call and schedule an appointment.