What Are the Features of a Modern Hearing Test?

man sitting inside hearing clinic for audiologic evaluation

If you have noticed some hearing loss and are looking to book in a hearing test, you may be a little apprehensive about what to expect. But you are doing the right thing. Being in denial and not booking a hearing test is the worst thing to do. In truth, everyone should be having regular hearing tests to monitor their hearing as they age. With a history of audiograms, it easy to keep an eye on the progression of your hearing loss and detect if there is a sudden decline. A hearing test can also warn of other underlying problems, so it is vital you have one. So, here are a few details about the modern hearing test:

Where does it happen?

A hearing test is usually conducted in a small, quiet, specially created sound-proofed room. There may be a window so you can see the hearing test agent. Once you enter the room, you will be seated and will be given a pair of headphones to wear. Alternatively, you will be provided with some earplugs which are attached to some wires and are connected to an audio test instrument known as an audiometer. Sometime the room will have some speakers that are placed strategically to test the hearing of infants and very young children. These children generally have to perform the test wearing cochlear implants or hearing aids.

What happens during the tests?

For adults, there are three main types of hearing test:

  • The pure tone audiometry: In this part of the test, you will wear the headphones, and then sounds and tones of different volumes, pitches and frequencies will be played to you. The hearing test agent will talk to you through the headphones and explain to you what you need to do. Once everything has been explained, the noises will start. It can occur on one or both headphone speakers, to the right or the left ear separately. You may be asked to lift the right or left hand, respectively, when you hear a noise. The tones will be played at various volumes, so you will need to concentrate in order to hear properly. This test will show the frequencies you can hear and at what volume.
  • The speech audiometry: In this part of the heating test, instead of tones and pitches, you will be played recorded speech or possible live speech. It will determine the threshold of the softest speech you can hear. This test will involve you repeating back words and phrases within your hearing threshold and go from there. They will use this test to work out not just the softest, but also the loudest you can hear comfortably
  • The tympanometry test: This part is not always used, but it will measure the functionality and the movement of your eardrum. It is used to determine your acoustic reflexes. Instead of the headphones, the soft earplug is used. This will generate pressure changes and sound. This test will work out how well the eardrum is moving to work out how well the middle ear muscles are working in response to reflexive stimuli.

How are the results determined?

The hearing test professional will create an audiogram. It is a graph that displays the sounds you can hear at the softest volumes on all frequencies. The vertical axis of the audiogram is generally for the volume of the sounds heard. The horizontal axis is a representation of the frequency. Your hearing will be judged by decibels of sounds heard. 

The audiogram provides a very useful document going forward. The hearing test agent can use it as a way to monitor how your hearing is declining over time. It can also give indications to timescales to complete hearing loss and can be used to treat you. It can determine the type of hearing loss you have and can help an audiologist work out the right hearing aid for you. There are so many benefits associated with a hearing test. It can even tell you if the hearing loss is due to some underlying condition such as diabetes, and once that is treated, your hearing may return to normal. 

So, if you have noticed any hearing loss, or you would like to have a hearing test checkup, do not wait. Why not call us now and arrange a hearing test appointment today. Call us at the Speech & Hearing Center now at 423-622-6900.