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Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is virtually impossible. For instance, you can’t actually put your ear next to a speaker and effectively evaluate what you hear. So getting a hearing test will be vital in understanding what’s going on with your hearing.

Now, before you start sweating or fidgeting anxiously, it’s significant to mention that the majority of hearing tests are quite easy and require nothing more taxing than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.

But we get it, no one likes tests. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. Taking some time to become familiar with these tests can help you feel more prepared and, therefore, more comfortable. A hearing test is about the easiest test you’ll ever take!

What is a hearing test like?

Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that isn’t that uncommon. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about occasionally. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they’re all about.

Well, that’s somewhat misleading. Because you may undergo a few different types of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each one is designed to measure something different or provide you with a specific result. Here are a few of the hearing tests you’re likely to encounter:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: This is the hearing test you’re likely most familiar with. You listen for a tone on a set of headphones. Hear a tone in your right ear? Raise your right hand. Hear the pitch in your left ear? Same thing! With this, we can determine which wavelengths 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: In some cases, you can hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains somewhat of a challenge. Speech is generally a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear clearly. This test also is comprised of a set 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: Naturally, real-world conversations rarely take place in a vacuum. The only actual difference between this test and the Speech audiometry test is that it is performed in a noisy setting. This can help you determine how well your hearing is working in real-world scenarios.
  • Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure the function of your inner ear. Two little sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and one on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. How effectively sound vibrations travel through the ear is tracked by this test. This test can often detect whether there is a blockage in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there may be some sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
  • Tympanometry: Occasionally, we’ll want to check the general health of your eardrum. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. 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 identify whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device supplies sound to your ear and measures the muscle feedback of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us identify how well it’s 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 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 kind of testing will help determine if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. It does this by tracking the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s an obstruction, this test will reveal it.

What can we learn from hearing test results?

You probably 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.

What do we look for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you get can, in other cases, simply help us rule out other causes. Essentially, we will get to the bottom of any hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing.

Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:

  • The best approach for managing your hearing loss: Once we’ve identified the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively provide treatment options.
  • Whether you’re dealing with symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
  • Which wavelengths of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; others have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
  • How severe your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken multiple tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have progressed).

Is there any difference between a hearing screening and a hearing test? 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 data.

The sooner you get tested, the better

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. And the tests aren’t painful or invasive. We will provide you with all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.

Which means hearing tests are quite easy, all you need to do is schedule them.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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