Have you ever suspected that something is wrong with your health yet been unsure? Some physical conditions are pronounced, such as an injury or an illness with severe symptoms. Yet other conditions can be enigmatic, feeling like something is just off.
Just like a person with an unknown physical condition, hearing loss can be confounding. Some people have obvious hearing loss that can’t be ignored. Yet, others have progressive hearing loss that accumulates gradually over the years. At the same time, the hearing loss is increasing; the person may be finding ways to work around the problem, including reading lips, positioning closer to the speaker, and even pretending to understand.
Since some hearing loss is difficult to understand, a hearing test is the only way to know for sure. When you schedule a hearing test, it can be helpful to know a bit of what to expect at the test. The following are a few features of the hearing test that can get you prepared.
Features of Hearing Tests
When you show up for your hearing test, you’ll first go over your personal medical history with your hearing healthcare provider. It is also helpful to take note of environments where you struggle to hear. You may also want to think about different aspects of your life that can be improved with better hearing, such as a meeting or at a noisy restaurant.
After the consultation, you’ll have a physical examination with an otoscope. Your hearing healthcare provider will look in your ears to see if any physical issues could interfere with your hearing, such as impacted earwax or injury to your eardrums.
You can expect the test to be conducted in a quiet environment. In some cases, the test may take place in a soundproof booth or small chamber. Most hearing tests will take place while wearing headphones or noise-canceling earmuffs.
Through the headphones, a series of tones ranging from low to high will be projected to the ears of the test-taker. When you hear a tone, you will be asked to gesture, signal, or press a button to let the examiner know that you have heard the tone. This data is used to generate a report on your hearing. Some tones may be played through the headphones that you cannot hear, and that’s completely okay. The purpose of the test is to determine how much you can hear, so just do your best. And by all means, don’t gesture if you haven’t heard a tone! The basic hearing test described above is technically called pure tone audiometry.
Two other types of tests may be administered in tandem with this basic test. The first is speech audiometry, in which human speech is played at varying volumes and pitches. In the same way, as in pure tone audiometry, you will be asked to signal if you hear the person speaking. Some speech audiometry does not only ask the test taker to signal when a word or sound is heard but also to repeat back the speech that has been heard.
A final test, tympanometry, uses physical bursts of air pressure to measure your auditory reflexes. By measuring the responsiveness of the ear to pressure, the test can determine how well a person responds to changes in sound.
Getting the Results
After you have completed the hearing test, you will have an opportunity to consult with a hearing specialist about your results. Those results can be depicted in a graph known as an audiogram.
The good thing is that you don’t need to know how to interpret your audiogram personally. It is up to the hearing healthcare provider to let you know how you have done different sound ranges. If you can hear quiet sounds in a range, you may have little or no hearing loss. However, if you cannot hear even loud sounds, you may have severe hearing loss.
Visit Us for a Hearing Test
Have you experienced changes in your hearing? Are you concerned you may have a hearing loss? A hearing test is the first step on the way to getting the help you need. If a hearing loss is detected, hearing aids may be suggested to get you back into a healthy range of hearing.
Our team provides comprehensive hearing tests and other hearing health services. Contact us to schedule an appointment! There’s no reason to live with untreated hearing loss.