Hearing Tests: Types, Facts, & Results

Hearing test showing ear of young woman with sound waves simulation technology - isolated on white banner - black and white.

Hearing loss is difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose by yourself. For instance, you can’t actually put your ear up to a speaker and effectively calculate what you hear. So getting your hearing tested will be essential in figuring out what’s happening with your hearing.

But there’s no need to be concerned or stress because a hearing test is about as simple as putting on a high-tech pair of headphones.

Alright, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. Taking some time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more relaxed. A hearing test is about the simplest test you’ll ever have to take!

How is a hearing test done?

We often talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your hearing checked. And the phrase “hearing test” is something we’ve probably talked about on occasion. Maybe, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.

Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Because it turns out there are a number of different hearing tests you might undergo. Each of these tests will provide you with a specific result and is created 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 aware of. 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! This will test your ability to hear a variety of frequencies at a variety of volumes. And if you have more profound hearing loss in one ear, this test will also determine that.
  • Speech audiometry: Sometimes, you’re able to hear tones really well, but hearing speech remains something of a challenge. Speech is typically a more complex audio spectrum so it can be more difficult to hear clearly. This test also features a pair of headphones in a quiet room. You will listen to speech at different 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 happen in settings where there are other sounds. 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 scenarios.
  • Bone conduction testing: How well your inner ear is working will be established by this test. A small sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is placed on your forehead. A small device then receives sounds. This test measures how well those sound vibrations travel through your inner ear. If this test establishes that sound is traveling through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have an obstruction.
  • Tympanometry: The general health of your eardrum sometimes needs to be tested. Tympanometry is a test that is utilized for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will detect that.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and observes the muscle feedback of your inner ear. It all occurs by reflex, which means that your muscle movements can reveal a lot about how well your middle ear is functioning.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): The ability of your inner ear and brain to react to sound is measured by an ABR test. This is achieved by putting a couple of strategically 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 people from grandparents to newborns!
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing: This type of testing will help determine if your inner ear and cochlea are working properly. 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 cases, if your ear is blocked.

What can we discover from hearing test results?

It’s likely, you probably won’t undergo every single one of these hearing tests. We will choose one or two tests that best suit your symptoms and then go from there.

What are we looking for in a hearing test? A hearing test can sometimes reveal the cause of your hearing loss. The hearing test you take can, in other cases, simply help us eliminate other causes. Whatever hearing loss symptoms you’re experiencing will ultimately be determined.

Here are some things that your hearing test can reveal:

  • Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms related to hearing loss.
  • Which frequency of sound you have the hardest time hearing (some people have a hard time hearing high wavelengths; others have a difficult time hearing low sounds).
  • How much your hearing loss has progressed and how serious it is.
  • The best approach for managing your hearing loss: Once we’ve determined the cause of your hearing loss, we’ll be able to more effectively provide treatment solutions.

What is the difference between a hearing test and a hearing screening? It’s kind 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.

The sooner you take this test, the better

So as soon as you detect symptoms, you need to schedule a hearing test. Don’t worry, this test isn’t going to be very stressful, and you won’t have to study. Nor are hearing tests invasive or generally painful. 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 pretty easy, all you need to do is schedule them.

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.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text