What Type of Hearing Tests Do Audiologists Perform?
It is not easy to deal with hearing loss, and some people choose not to seek the help of an audiologist out of embarrassment that they need the advice in the first place. The result is a feeling of isolation when you cannot keep up with social conversations. The best thing to do, however, is to get as much help as possible to be supported with the right treatment. There is a variety of hearing tests that can be performed to check the function of your ears. If you believe your hearing is starting to decline, you will be referred to an audiologist to help you to learn whether your hearing is becoming a problem or your symptoms are something else.
The methods that are used to diagnose your hearing will depend on many factors, age being one of them. When you are getting hearing loss treatment, your audiologist will assess your needs and the type of test they will perform. There are many different ways that your hearing can be tested; let's take a look.
When you were at school, you may have experienced pure tone testing. This is where you wear headphones, and your audiologist will play a sound. Every time you hear the beep, you press a button to confirm you've listened to it. This is pure-tone testing. The other name for it is air conduction testing because the sounds move through your middle ear and your outer ear. With pure-tone testing, your audiologist can tell at which pitch you can hear sounds, and at which frequencies.
Audiologists can also perform a speech test as part of your hearing tests. This is paying attention to how well you listen to and repeat words back to them. There is a speech reception threshold test, which measures the results against pure tone testing to be able to identify the extent of hearing loss. As part of the hearing tests, your audiologist will speak words through the headphones in your ears, and you will repeat the words back to them. Your audiologist will then record which word you can hear at the softest level. There is a chance you'll need to repeat the words at the loudest point, too, to test how well you recognize the words. Sometimes, speech testing is carried out in a noisy environment to understand your conversation levels in a crowd.
Middle ear tests
Three parts make up the structure of your ear: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Any issues that occur in the middle ear will make it difficult for the sound to move to the outer and inner ear, as well as the brain. Most of the time, middle ear testing is performed on younger children, as this is the age group most likely to suffer from middle ear problems because of early childhood infections. So, with that in mind, your audiologist will perform three separate tests on your middle ear:
Statistic acoustic measurements
This is the test that measures the air in the ear canal to identify whether there is a hole in the ear canal. It can help you to learn whether your ears are open or blocked, and your audiologist can then take steps to clear the blockage.
This test can help your audiologist to tell how well your eardrum moves. There is a probe used which looks like an earphone. This probe is inserted into each ear, and then air will be pushed through to the inner ear. The tympanogram plots a graph to see how your eardrum moves and your audiologist will be able to tell if your eardrum moves in the right way.
Acoustic reflex measures
When a loud sound occurs, there is a small muscle in the middle ear that tightens. This is called an acoustic reflex, and you won't be aware of its happening. Sometimes, when the hearing loss is more severe, you may not even have a reflex to speak of, and your audiologist will be able to tell.
If you fail any of the hearing tests, your audiologist will be able to make a recommendation on your treatment from there. None of the above tests are painful, and you won't have anything majorly invasive going on. It's all about testing your hearing and whether your ears are in the best possible shape - and then fixing the problem. Learn more about Cosmetic Hearing Solutions by calling our office at 571-312-7345.