Understanding the different types of hearing tests
When you're getting hearing loss treatment, there are two different ways that audiologists will test you. Knowing the difference between a hearing screening and evaluation can be difficult, but understanding what will happen before you get to the office can relieve anxiety or stress you are feeling about the situation.
A screening is the first test your doctor will do, and is a cost-efficient way to determine whether or not you need further treatment. After going through a screening, your hearing health professional will put you into a pass or fail group and those that pass have no hearing loss.
However, if you have failed the hearing test, your audiologist will recommend that you have a hearing evaluation to determine the severity and what next steps need to happen. Individuals who don't seem to have issues will their hearing will most likely opt for a hearing screening instead of an evaluation.
An evaluation is a much more in-depth process into your hearing loss. During this test, there are a number of different ways your audiologist will test your hearing. The hearing professional will first look into your ears with an otoscope to examine the ear canal and ear drum as well as obstruction of ear wax that may be causing you issues. Technology allows you to be able to see what they are seeing through a video.
These exams are generally conducted in a soundproof room so no outside noises can hinder your results. Hearing professionals use calibrated equipment that is highly sophisticated during this exam. With a series of different tests, your hearing ability will be reflected in sound levels and frequencies, and the pattern, type and severity of your hearing loss will help determine the best solution for you.
Audiologists also conduct a speech exam where you will listen to one and two syllable words at various volumes. You will be asked to repeat these words back and your audiologist will be able to tell what volume is necessary for you to hear sounds. There also will be a test that asks you to listen to sentences with noise in the background to determine how much this affects your overall hearing ability.
Other types of testing include tympanometry and site of lesion tests. For a tympanometry, your audiologist will apply slight pressure to the ear to detect any fluid or problems with the middle ear, which may be causing you issues with your hearing.
Site of lesion testing is often used during an audiogram, but it helps to find where the problem is within your ear. A professional will test each the hearing of each ear with one another, changes that take place in signal intensity, your ability to hear with background noise present and if you are able to hear sentences that go through the ears at the same time.