What is the Difference in a Screening and a Hearing Test?

man stiting in booth for hearing examination

There are many similarities between a hearing and a screening test, but the two tests have some significant differences. Screening for hearing may provide you with more detailed information than just if it is positive or negative. 

It will provide you with information such as the type of hearing loss and whether there is any measurable improvement following amplification therapy. This article will go over what each one entails and how you can tell which one is best suited for your needs.

What To Expect During a Screening Test?

The test will usually take a few minutes to complete. The expert will ask you questions about your health, including asthma and allergies. A screening is not diagnostic for hearing loss; it only identifies people who need additional testing. 

A person with everyday speech perception on the screen can still have some level of hearing impairment or hearing loss. You may not hear well during this test, so you must speak up as much as possible. If you have trouble hearing any words or sentences, please let the health care professional know.

What To Expect During a Hearing Test?

Most hearing tests take about 15–30 minutes. They involve a hearing health professional asking you to listen for sounds while they cover one ear at a time or play various noises into both ears, usually with headphones. 

Listening tests are also an essential part of hearing exams. These may involve playing sounds at different pitches or volumes while you wear headphones with little lights on them. In some cases, a hearing care provider may use a device called a probe microphone that is placed in your ear canal to test how well you can hear low-pitched sounds.

How a Screening Test Differs from a Hearing Test?

Screening tests typically find out if someone has a hearing loss. It is also called the Otoscopic examination, or tympanic membrane percussion and auscultation (TMP). The experts do this test with an otoscope that magnifies earwax cells on the eardrum during the examination. 

The experts examine with a stethoscope, an earpiece on one side and a bell on the other, where you will listen for sounds in both ears. In this test, you need to keep your eyes closed so that all your attention goes into listening carefully. Thus, this screening hearing test may also be called an ear test.

Hearing tests are more extensive than screening hearing tests, and it has two categories: pure-tone audiometry or speech recognition testing. In pure tone, you listen to sounds with different pitches, while the other type of hearing test uses sentences and words because they sound much louder than single tones.