Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. As an example, you can’t really assess your level of hearing by merely putting your ear near a speaker. That means that if you want to know what’s happening with your hearing, you have to take a test.
Now, before you begin sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s important to mention that the majority of hearing tests are quite easy and involve nothing more challenging than wearing a pair of fancy headphones.
But we get it, people don’t like tests. Tests are generally no fun for anyone 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 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 test is something that isn’t that unusual. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed on occasion. You might even be thinking, well, what are the 2 types of hearing tests?
Well, that’s somewhat misleading. Because you may undergo a few different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of these tests will provide you with a particular result and is designed to measure something different. Here are some of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are most likely 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 pitch 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 frequencies 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 an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. Speech is typically a more complex audio range so it can be harder to hear with clarity. This test also consists of a pair of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at various volumes to determine the lowest volume you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
- Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations rarely happen in a vacuum. The only real difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed in a noisy setting. This can help you figure out how well your hearing is functioning in real-world situations.
- Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is functioning will be established by this test. A small sensor is placed near your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. Sound is then transmitted through a small device. How efficiently sound vibrations move through the ear is tracked by this test. This test can usually detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you can’t hear, but your inner ear is working fine there might be some sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
- Tympanometry: The general 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 in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can indicate whether your eardrum has a hole, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
- Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. It all occurs by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is working.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are responding to sound. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are tactically placed on your skull. This test is totally painless so don’t worry. It’s one of the reasons why ABR testing is used on people from grandparents to newborns!
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This diagnostic is designed to determine how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. It does this by measuring 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 do the results of hearing tests tell us?
You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best address 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 expose the underlying 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.
In general, your hearing test will reveal:
- How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
- The best strategy for managing your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to address your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
- Whether your hearing loss is in a specific frequency range.
- Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
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 really superficial. A test is a lot more in-depth and can supply usable information.
The sooner you take this test, the better
So as soon as you observe symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Relax, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally unpleasant. If you’re wondering, what should I not do before you get a hearing test, don’t worry, we will provide you with all of that information.
Which means hearing tests are quite easy, all you need to do is schedule them.