Hearing Tests: Types, Facts, & Results

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

Self-diagnosing hearing loss is pretty much impossible. For example, you can’t actually put your ear up to a speaker and effectively evaluate what you hear. So getting a hearing test will be crucial in understanding what’s going on with your hearing.

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

But we get it, people don’t like tests. Whether you’re a student or middle-aged medical patient, tests are just generally no fun. Taking a little time to get to know these tests can help you feel more prepared and, as a result, more comfortable. There’s virtually no test easier to take than a hearing test!

How is a hearing test done?

Talking about making an appointment to get a hearing assessment is something that is not that unusual. And we’ve likely used the phrase “hearing test” a couple of times. You may even be thinking, well, what are the two types of hearing tests?

Well, that’s slightly misleading. Because you may undergo a few different kinds of hearing tests, as it turns out. Each of them is designed to assess something different or provide you with a specific result. The hearing tests you’re most likely to experience include the following:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: Most people are most likely familiar with this hearing test. You listen for a tone on a set of headphones. You just raise 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. 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: In some cases, hearing speech is an issue for you despite the fact that you can hear tones clearly. That’s because speech is typically more complex! 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 level you can hear words and clearly comprehend them.
  • Speech and Noise-in-Words Tests: Of course, real-world conversations rarely happen 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 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 functioning will be established by this test. Two small sensors are placed, one on your forehead, and the other on your cochlea. Sound is then sent through a small device. How effectively sound vibrations travel through the ear is tracked by this test. If this test determines that sound is moving through your ear effectively it could indicate that you have an obstruction.
  • Tympanometry: On occasion, we’ll want to test the general health of your eardrum. This is done using a test called tympanometry. During this test, a little device will gently push air into your ear and measure exactly how much your eardrum moves. If you have fluid behind your eardrum, or a hole in your eardrum, this is the test that will identify that.
  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: A tiny device measures the muscle response of your inner ear after delivering sound to it. It all happens by reflex, which means that the movements of your muscles 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 respond 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 totally 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 designed to measure how well your cochlea and inner ear are functioning. This is achieved 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 do the results of hearing tests reveal?

You most likely won’t need to get all of these hearing tests. We will pick one or two tests that best suit 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 root 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 noticing will ultimately be determined.

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

  • Which treatment approach is best for your hearing loss: We will be more successfully able to address your hearing loss once we’ve established the cause.
  • How serious your hearing loss is (or, if you’ve taken numerous tests over the years, how your hearing loss may have advanced).
  • Whether you’re experiencing symptoms associated with hearing loss or hearing loss itself.
  • Whether your hearing loss is in a particular frequency range.

Is there a 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 designed to provide usable data.

The sooner you take this test, the better

So as soon as you notice symptoms, you should schedule a hearing test. Take it easy, you won’t need to study, and the test isn’t stressful. And the tests aren’t painful or invasive. We will give you 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.

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.