Hearing tests are one of the most effective ways for an audiologist to identify the level and type of hearing loss you have. It is estimated that over 30-million people in the US are living with some level of hearing loss. This can be caused by loud noises, medical conditions, physical trauma and aging. Some hearing loss is reversible, and some are not, that’s why it’s important to take your hearing seriously and not wait until there’s a problem. 

But not all hearing tests are the same: there are many different types that are used to diagnose very particular forms of hearing loss such as sensorineural or conductive. Your audiologist will determine which test is the most suitable for you. These are three of the most common types of hearing tests. 

Pure tone

This type of test is designed to identify which pitches and frequencies you can hear and at what levels. You will be given a set of headphones and asked to respond whenever you hear a noise. This can be done verbally or by making a gesture. Your audiologist can identify the very lowest tones you can hear and the difference in the level of hearing loss in each ear. 

Speech

While pure-tone testing is very effective, it doesn’t really reflect the everyday experience of people in their lives. Speech audiometry uses actual life or recorded speech. The room will be quiet, and you will be playing the speech elements very softly to determine your lower hearing levels. An audiologist will then ask you to repeat them back accurately. 

Tympanometry

In this type of hearing test, a soft plug is used that generates a sound and causes pressure changes within the ear. As the sound is played, the movement of the eardrum will be assessed as well as the muscles of the middle ear. Tympanometry is used as a baseline test for the reflexes of your acoustic system. 

When Should You Get a Hearing Test? 

It is recommended that people get a hearing test annually, whether or not they are experiencing any symptoms of hearing loss or other issues such as tinnitus or vertigo. If you’ve over the age of 50, work in a noisy workplace or frequently attend noisy events then you should make this a priority as your audiologist will be able to give you advice on protective equipment. 

They will also be able to determine which type of hearing test you need. This could be one or more different tests depending on what they are looking for as a cause of your hearing loss. Regular hearing tests also give a great baseline from which to track your hearing over time, so that your hearing can be tracked accurately and treatment is given at the earliest possible time. 

Hearing tests don’t cause any pain or discomfort and are non-invasive and highly accurate. They are an important tool for any audiologist to keep your hearing levels sensitive for as long as possible and protect your overall ear health.