Getting a hearing test will help you and your audiologist diagnose the level of your hearing loss. Your audiologist will help you find the best hearing loss treatment for your needs, which could include getting a hearing aid.

Hearing test can help with:

  • It helps uncover other serious medical conditions that, if not treated, could have serious repercussions.
  • A hearing test helps keep your general ears' health in check.
  • It is a painless procedure that consumes less time.

A hearing test refers to a painless, non-invasive procedure conducted by an audiologist on your ears to determine your level of responsiveness to sound, pitches and frequencies. The test lasts roughly 20-30 minutes and is meant to measure the least audible sound you can hear.

The test can interpret one to have either sensorineural hearing loss or conductive hearing loss, depending on the part of your ear that's damaged. Sensorineural hearing loss is when damage occurs on your nerve or cochlea, while the latter represents a situation where the damage occurs on your eardrum or ossicle bones.

The Procedure

A hearing test involves three main types of examinations as follows, a pure tone test to access the least sound you can hear, a word recognition test to decipher your speech understanding levels in noisy environments and a tympanometry test to examine problems related to wax buildup, ossicle bone damage or other tumors in the middle ear.

The sound testing examination usually takes place in a quiet soundproof room where the audiologist uses an audiometer to test your hearing. Your audiologist first asks you to wear headphones connected to a machine in the room.

The headphones deliver tones and sound of speech to your ears simultaneously. During this time, your audiologist will require that you raise your right hand as an indication of having heard a sound in the right ear and then repeat with the left ear. They then record each tone at the lowest possible volume that you heard it.

The speech or word recognition test involves you repeating the words that you hear. The first stage of the test entails recognizing two-syllable words at a decreasing volume. In the second stage, the volume is constant and you get to decipher a series of one-syllable words.

The tympanometry test involves placing a soft plug that can change the pressure, make a loud noise, and detect your response to the sound and give pressure into your ear.  

Interpretation of the Results

After the testing, your audiologist will hand you the results, which are interpretable as follows: less than 25 decibels (dB) to mean normal hearing loss, 25-40dB. To indicate mild hearing loss, 41-65 db. To show moderate hearing loss level, 66-90 to indicate severe hearing loss and more than 90 to show a profound level of hearing loss.

When Should You Have the Hearing Test?

Signs such as difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, understanding conversations when in noisy environments, and following conversations on the phone should prompt you to have a hearing test done. Moreover, if you are fond of turning up the volume on TV or radio and asking people to repeat themselves now and then, you should consider having the test.

Equally important, every adult aged 21 years and above should have the tests every ten years until they hit 50. From here, the test should take place after every three years.