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What are the Most Common Hearing Tests?
There are a variety of different hearing tests that an audiologist may perform on you during your visit. Each test that is performed is based on your situation as they all have different measurements. Many tests that patients undergo for hearing loss are very quick, easy and painless.
This is one of the first types of tests that you may need to take when visiting your local audiologist. This is usually after it’s established that you most likely have some level of hearing loss. This test is designed to establish what sort of frequencies that you’re able to hear. This is also considered to be one of the least invasive hearing tests as well. This test will require you to sit in a quiet room or booth and wear noise-canceling headphones.
So, no outside interferences will affect how you test. Then your audiologist will play a series of different frequencies where you’ll push a button or maybe raise your hand to indicate whether you can hear something or not. This data will be used to determine the range of hearing that you currently have as well as identify the types of frequency waves that you’re struggling to hear. The data from the test may also be used to calibrate a hearing device.
Bone Conduction Testing
Bone conduction testing is often used with the pure tone audiometry test. They’re both similar in that they will help determine the level of hearing loss you have by measuring what your ears can hear. What makes this one different is the fact that the test will use vibrations rather than just the sound to measure how your hearing is. This is a pain-free test that can help identify the potential cause of hearing loss that you’re experiencing.
Your audiologist will place a conductor behind your ear that will send small vibrations through the bones and directly to your inner ear. The results from this test will then be compared to the pure tone test. The bone conduction test can oftentimes be far more accurate as it measures the inner ears, not just your input. This can pick up structural issues such as excessive earwax.
The tympanometry test is a test to see how the middle ear functions. This is one of the first few tests that you may take, which involves measuring the movement of your eardrum when air pressure is introduced. Your audiologist will be able to identify any abnormalities that can contribute to hearing loss such as fluid, infections or wax buildup.
This type of test can also determine if there are any tumors or anything else that could be blocking the ears, preventing you from being able to hear correctly. This can also be a part of a large series of tests for the middle ear, these series involve acoustic reflexes and static acoustic tests. It’s one of the effective forms of test that can also identify eustachian tube dysfunction.
The speech test is a very specific form of audiometry testing. Similar to the pure-tone test, you’ll be in a quiet environment that involves your ability to separate speech from background noises while wearing noise-canceling headphones. Alternatively, this environment can be controlled by the audiologist where there's a noisy environment, the audiologist may even say words to you, which you’ll have to repeat.
This will determine your capability of understanding speech, by measuring your speech reception threshold (SRT). This will determine the level of speech that you can recognize. A common effect of hearing loss is trying to separate speech from a noisy distraction-filled background.