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. To illustrate, you can’t really measure your level of hearing by simply putting your ear next to a speaker. Which means that if you want to know what’s going on with your hearing, you need to take a test.

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

Okay, tests aren’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Whether you’re a high school student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are really just no fun. You will be more relaxed and more ready if you take a little time to get to know these tests. There’s almost no test easier to take than a hearing test!

What is a hearing test like?

We frequently talk about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to have your hearing tested. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” once or twice. Perhaps, you’ve heard that there are two kinds of hearing tests and you’re wondering what they are all about.

Well, that’s not quite accurate. Because as it happens, there are a number of different hearing tests you may undergo. Each of these tests will provide you with a particular result and is designed to measure something different. The hearing tests you’re most likely to encounter include the following:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: Most individuals are probably familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a sound on a pair of headphones. You just put up your right hand if you hear a tone in your right ear, and if you hear a tone in your left ear you raise your left hand. 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: Sometimes, hearing speech is a challenge for you despite the fact that you can hear tones just fine. Speech is generally a more complex audio spectrum so it can be harder to hear with clarity. During a speech audiometry test, you’ll be brought into a quiet room and will, once again, be directed to put on some headphones. Instead of making you listen to tones, this test will be comprised of audible speech at various volumes to identify the lowest level you’re able to hear a word and still comprehend it.
  • Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations seldom occur in a vacuum. A speech and noise-in-words test will go through the same procedure as speech audiometry, but the test occurs in a noisy room rather than a quiet one. This mimics real-world situations to help determine how your hearing is working in those settings.
  • Bone conduction testing: This diagnostic is designed to measure the function of your inner ear. A little sensor is placed next to your cochlea and another is put on your forehead. Sound is then sent through a small device. This test tracks how well those sound vibrations travel through your inner ear. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it may suggest that you have a blockage.
  • Tympanometry: Sometimes, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. Tympanometry is a test that is used for this purpose. Air will be gently blown into your ear in order to measure how much movement your eardrum has. The results of this test can reveal whether your eardrum has a hole, fluid behind your eardrum membrane, and more.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: During this test, a tiny device delivers sound to your ear and measures the muscle response of your inner ear. The reflexive reaction of the muscle movement of your inner ear will help us discover how well it’s working.
  • 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. Don’t worry, though! This test is entirely 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 measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. This is accomplished by measuring sound that echo’s back to your middle ear from your inner ear. If your cochlea isn’t working properly or there’s an obstruction, this test will detect it.

What can we learn from hearing test results?

You probably won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. Generally, your specific symptoms will determine which of these tests will be suitable.

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

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

  • Whether you are suffering from hearing loss or experiencing the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
  • Which treatment approach will be best for your hearing loss: We will be more effectively able to treat your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
  • How much your hearing loss has progressed and how severe it is.
  • Which wavelengths of sound you have the most difficult time hearing (some individuals have a difficult time hearing high frequencies; others have a hard time hearing low sounds).

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 designed to supply usable data.

It’s best to get a hearing test as soon as possible

That’s why it’s essential to schedule a hearing test when you first detect symptoms. Relax, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. Nor are hearing tests intrusive or generally unpleasant. We will give you all of the information about what to do and not to do before your hearing test.

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

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.