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Diagnosing hearing loss by yourself is basically impossible. For example, you can’t actually put your ear next to a speaker and effectively calculate what you hear. That means that if you want to understand what’s going on with your hearing, you have to get it tested.

Now, before you begin sweating or anxiously fidgeting, it’s significant to point out that the majority of hearing tests are quite easy and involve nothing more challenging than putting on a pair of fancy headphones.

But we get it, no one likes tests. Tests in general are no fun for anybody of any age. Taking some time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more comfortable. A hearing test is about the easiest test you’ll ever have to take!

What is a hearing test like?

We frequently talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your ears assessed. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably discussed on occasion. You might even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?

Well, that’s somewhat misleading. Because you may undergo a number of different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each one is designed to assess something different or give you 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 listen for a sound 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! This will test your ability to 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: Sometimes, you can hear tones very well, but hearing speech is still somewhat challenging. That’s because speech is typically more complex! This test also is comprised of a pair of headphones in a quiet room. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will consist of audible speech at different volumes to identify the lowest level you can hear a word and still comprehend it.
  • Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations almost never take place in a vacuum. The only actual 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 made to measure the performance of your inner ear. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. A small device then receives sounds. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations move through your inner ear. This test can often detect whether there is an obstruction in your ear (ex: if you’re unable to hear, but your inner ear is working perfectly there could be some sort of obstruction blocking the sounds).
  • Tympanometry: The overall health of your eardrum sometimes requires testing. This is accomplished using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little device will gently push air into your ear and measure just how much your eardrum moves. The results of this test can indicate whether there’s a hole in your eardrum, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and observes 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 working.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): An ABR test tries to measure how well the brain and inner ear are reacting to sound. To achieve this test, a couple of electrodes are strategically placed on your skull. Don’t worry, though! This test is completely 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 track how well your cochlea and inner ear are working. It does this by measuring the sound waves that echo back from your inner ear into your middle ear. This can detect whether your cochlea is working or, in some situations, if your ear is blocked.

What can we learn from hearing test results?

You most likely won’t have to get all of these hearing tests. We will select one or two tests that best address your symptoms and then go from there.

What are we looking for in a hearing test? Well, in some cases the tests you take will reveal the underlying cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take 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 noticing.

Here are a few things that your hearing test can reveal:

  • Which treatment approach will be best for your hearing loss: Once we’ve established what’s causing your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more successfully provide treatment options.
  • Which wavelengths of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high frequencies; others have a tough time hearing low sounds).
  • Whether you’re dealing with symptoms related to hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
  • How much your hearing loss has progressed and how serious it is.

Is there a 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 very superficial. A test is much more in-depth and can provide usable information.

It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as you can

So as soon as you detect symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Relax, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t unpleasant or invasive. If you’re wondering, what you shouldn’t do before a hearing test, don’t worry, we will have all of that information for you.

It’s easy, just call and schedule an appointment.

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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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