What to Expect at a Hearing Test

Dr. Kelly Dyson Hearing Health

Dr. Kelly Dyson

Admitting that you may have hearing loss at all is often the biggest hurtle to getting on the road to regaining your diminished hearing. It’s confusing often as hearing loss develops slowly over years. It is usually family or co-workers that first suggest that you may have a problem with your hearing. Regardless of what sparked you to schedule a hearing test it is cause for celebration as once you know the nature of your hearing loss you can finally get the appropriate treatment to get you hearing your life again. It’s important to remember with a hearing test that there is not too much to worry about as hearing tests are quick, non-invasive and simple procedure from start to finish. The goal of a hearing test is to gauge your ability to hear and process sound. If a hearing loss is detected, they are also designed to determine the type of hearing loss you are living with and the degree in which it affects you. Below is a brief summary of what to expect at a hearing test so you know exactly what to expect.

Consultation with Your Audiologist

When you first meet with an audiologist, they will ask you a series of questions about your medical history and that of your family. They will take an inventory of the different medications that you are using and if you’ve recently had a cold, flu or ear infection. They will also try to understand the levels of noise you’ve been exposed to through your life. For instance, if you have worked in a noisy workplace such as a factory for a number of years or you’ve lived on a busy street, the audiologist will take this into account to understand the levels of noise you’ve endured that could affect your hearing. The more you share with your audiologist, the more information they have to help you hear to your highest potential.

Physical Examination

After all the questions have been asked your audiologist will perform a physical examination of your ears using an otoscope. An otoscope is a tool used by audiologists to examine inside your ear canal toward your eardrum. Your audiologist will note any visible damage or blockage in your ear canal and eardrum.

Three Types of Hearing Tests

It is standard for audiologists to perform three tests to assess your hearing ability thoroughly:

  • Diagnostic Auditory Evaluation: For this test you will sit in a soundproof booth wearing headphones. A series of tones will play of varied pitches and variable volume. As the volume fluctuates you will be asked at what threshold you can begin to hear a tone. This test is used to determine the type, degree, and severity of hearing loss and if there is any at all.
  • Tympanometry: This test is used to examine the health of your middle ear, eardrum, bones of the middle ear, and Eustachian tubes. A tympanometer is used which will quickly change your ear pressure for a few seconds at a time. A tympanometry is used to painlessly measure parts of the inner ear.
  • Acoustic Reflex Thresholds: This test measures the contraction of your stapedius muscle. The stapedius muscle protects our ears from loud sounds. With a tight seal applied to your ears a series of beeps will play. As the sound becomes progressively louder, the contraction of your stapedius muscle will be measured to ascertain the muscle’s strength and agility.

Reviewing Your Audiogram

The results of your test are recorded on an audiogram, which is a visual graph of your hearing test. It is usually divided by each individual ear and reports your hearing ability in terms of frequency and loudness, and brain response. Speech recognition is usually reported in a percentage of hearing comprehension. The audiologist that conducted your test will take the time you need to explain your results and what that means for your hearing. The results of your hearing test will be divided into the range of normal hearing aka, no hearing loss, or varying degrees of hearing loss. If a hearing loss has been found then the appropriate treatments will be recommended. The most common treatment for most hearing loss is hearing aids. We will help you find the best hearing aids for your needs and lifestyle and get back to hearing the life you love.