Learn more about the exams and tests your audiologist may perform.
Getting your hearing regularly tested is an important step in managing and maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. In this post, we’ll cover the most common hearing loss screenings you can expect at your audiologist’s office, including:
- Physical exams
- General screening tests
- Audiometer tests
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
- Tuning fork exercises
- Tympanometry tests
Learn more about each of these common hearing loss exams and tests below.
During a physical ear exam, your doctor will take a detailed look at your ears for potential causes of hearing loss, such as excess earwax or inflammation. If earwax or infections are reducing the quality of your hearing, your audiologist will be able to provide the correct treatment option, such as the removal of earwax blockage or prescribing infection-fighting medicine.
General screening tests
General screening tests include the whisper test where you will be asked to cover one ear at a time to see how well you hear at various volumes and respond to certain sounds. While the accuracy of these types of tests is limited, they can be a useful initial screening to identify areas that may require additional examination.
There are two different audiometry tests that your audiologist may use to examine your hearing. In pure tone audiometry, you will sit in a soundproof booth and wear headphones and a special headband. Your doctor or testing administrator will play different pitches of sound and ask what you can hear. This test helps determine how well you can hear high and low frequencies.
During a speech audiometry test, you’ll also sit in the booth with headphones and repeat what you hear, but the sounds will be words at different volumes instead of tones. This test measures how well you can hear speech. Your audiologist may also ask you to complete this test in a noisy environment to determine how background noise affects your hearing.
Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
The auditory brainstem response (ABR) test is used to identify how the inner ear and brain pathways are working. This test is typically used only with children or people who cannot complete a typical hearing loss screening. During the test, electrodes that are connected to a computer are placed on the head. The electrodes record your brain wave activity in response to sounds through earphones. Your audiologist or testing administrator will see your results to help determine the best course of treatment for you.
Tuning fork exercises
Your audiologist may use a tuning fork as another hearing loss test. Tuning forks are two-pronged, metal instruments that produce sounds when struck. Audiologists use this instrument to better understand how well you can hear certain sounds. This evaluation can also reveal where any ear damage may have occurred.
Tympanometry is used in evaluations of the middle ear and eardrum abnormalities. During this test, a small probe gently placed in your ear measures how well your eardrum moves. The probe will gently push air into your ear, and your audiologist will monitor the results on a graph called a tympanogram. The shape of the graph will show how your eardrum moves and will identify whether it is not moving enough, moving too much, or has a hole in it. This test can also help your doctor rule out congestion or infection, which may be causing temporary hearing loss.
These six different types of hearing loss screenings are some of the common evaluations used to assess hearing health and the impact of hearing loss. Ready to schedule your appointment with an audiologist? Review our guide on what to expect at a hearing test before you go.
For more helpful advice and tips for your hearing health, continue to our hearing loss blog. To learn how a CapTel captioned telephone can make it easier to connect with family and friends over the phone, visit CapTel.com or call 800.233.9130 today.