Individuals are often referred to House of Hearing Audiology Clinic for a diagnostic audiologic evaluation. This is the recommended course of action when hearing loss needs further examination. Smaller hearing screenings are often the source, but referrals can also come from doctors. A hearing test has many different levels and will be different based on age and hearing loss type.
Types of Tests
Background medical history will heavily influence the type of tests needed for the evaluation. Finding the degree of hearing loss in both ears takes priority with testing. Hearing professionals will also test for whether the damage is conductive or sensorineural. Pure-tone, bone conduction and speech are the three main tests of the evaluation. Other tests include otoacoustic emissions screening and auditory brain stem response testing. For children, visual reinforcement is an alternative testing option.
Pure-Tone and Bone Conduction
During this part of the evaluation, headphones are used to push specific tones to both ears. The idea is to test the current level of the inner ear and hearing nerves. Sounds will vary, and it is up to the listener to signal whether the sound is audible in one or both ears. By the end of the test, the data will provide a good idea of which frequencies were too quiet to hear. All of this works as a benchmark when comparing it to the average hearing results.
Speech testing is handled with the speech reception threshold test. This part of the evaluation is suitable for adults and children. The purpose of the test is to determine how well a person can recognize speech in environments that are noisy. Listeners will have to repeat back the words they hear correctly, with a final grading on accuracy. Hearing professionals may opt for tympanometry and an otoscopy examination in addition to speech testing.
When an initial hearing screening recommends further testing, make an appointment. Putting off getting a hearing evaluation can cause the problem to worsen over time. It isn’t uncommon for a temporary problem with hearing loss to become permanent. Without treatment, the original cause of the problem is allowed to continue. Hearing professionals will ask a lot of questions before, during and after testing. Answer honestly to get the most accurate results for future treatment options.