What Are the Features of a Modern Hearing Test?

a hearing specialist is reviewing the results of her patient's audiogram

Whether you suspect hearing loss, you have already been dealing with it, or you need a check-up, modern hearing tests can answer all of your questions. Indeed, today’s technological advancements allow audiologists and patients to have a clear vision of the status of the ear and hearing. A hearing test can reveal underlying conditions and even hidden hearing loss. They are also essential to find out what is the ideal solution for your situation.

What is a hearing test?

A modern hearing test is an evaluation of the status of your hearing. This assessment will highlight the sensitivity of this sense, as well as potential underlying issues. To undertake a hearing test, you will need to visit your audiologist. 

Audiologists will use an audiometer – a device that will test your hearing’s sensitivity to a range of sounds, broadcasted in different frequencies, and through headphones. These tests are non-invasive, painless and discreet but can help you find out more about your hearing status. Today, these steps go a step further and can even tell you the type of hearing loss you are dealing with sensorineural, conductive or both.

A thorough hearing health history

The first stage of the hearing test is nothing more than a conversation you will have with your audiologist. This consultation will regard your medical and hearing health history and aims at informing your audiologist about your situation and concerns. This step is essential to identify relevant episodes and genetic factors that could influence your hearing.

You will be asked about any medical conditions that you might have, including past ear infections, allergies and work environment. Indeed, noise-induced hearing loss is not to be underestimated in this case.

Otoscopic examination

After the first assessment is complete, your audiologist will continue the test with an otoscopic examination. This step is completed through an otoscope or auriscope, which is a medical device to get a closer look into the ear. An otoscopic investigation aims at identifying any visible cues that could have led to hearing loss, such as infection, inflammation, earwax accumulation and issues regarding the eardrum. This step is essential to discard potential lesions of the ear and continue with the next tests.

Pure tone audiometry

A pure tone audiometry test will assess how sensitive your hearing is to a range of sounds. Your audiologist will communicate relevant instructions through the headphones. However, generally, you will be asked to listen to a variety of sounds produced at different volumes and frequencies. This test often takes place in a sound-treated room, which provides a tranquil environment. The audiologist will guide you through the steps of each analysis, which aims at understanding what the softest sound you hear at each frequency is.

Speech audiometry

While the pure-tone tests aim at understanding the status of your hearing, it is also crucial for you to be comfortable in social situations. In these instances, you will often have to follow the words and conversations of the ones around you. For this test, you will either listen to a recorded talk or a live one, and you will be asked to repeat the said words.

Tympanometry

Tympanometry – or middle ear function test – is an assessment that aims at understanding the functioning and movement of your middle ear or eardrum. The test consists of a range of variations of air pressure in the ear canal. As the pressure changes, the tests assess how your eardrum performs. This stage of the assessment, as the other, is painless, but you can feel discomfort if your eardrum is infected or inflamed.

Tinnitus test

Several conditions can cause tinnitus, which can easily be treated if identified promptly. These include inflammation or earwax. However, this condition can relate to other, more severe issues that you will have to discuss with your audiologist.

Words and speech in noise test

This part of the test assesses your hearing ability during a real-world scenario. Indeed, while you might find it easy to catch conversation, words, and tones in the absence of other background noises, we are often surrounded by them. 

Hidden hearing loss

Hidden hearing loss is a condition related to our brain ability, not our hears. As you have passed all of your hearing tests assessments, but you still have concerns, you might have to speak to your audiologist about potential hidden hearing loss.

If you would like to have more details about what to expect during a hearing test or book one, talk with the professionals at Flynn Associates by calling Concord: (978) 369-6666, Wellesley: (781) 235-8110.