Hearing loss is an experience that many people across the lifespan know too well. In fact, it can actually be detrimental to both emotional and physical well-being. If you are experiencing hearing loss or other hearing-related complications, it may be time for an audiology test, also known as a hearing test. Audiology is the branch of medicine that addresses a person’s sense of hearing.
If you notice that you are asking people to repeat themselves more than usual, having trouble differentiating voices of those you know in a crowd, noticing that the volume on the tv needs to be higher to hear it, and ringing in your ears, it’s time to consider having a hearing test performed.
Untreated hearing loss has been shown to cause anxiety, difficulties at work, impaired social relationships, and more. Having a hearing test as soon as you notice hearing difficulties can help your audiologist best work with your unique hearing needs before they advance any further.
What Does an Audiology Test Consist Of?
There are many types of audiology tests, but it is likely that you will not need to take all of them. When you receive an audiology exam, the specific tests you need will be determined by your health history and a physical examination of your ears to note any buildup of earwax or structural abnormalities.
The administration of hearing tests is called audiometry. Some tests may evaluate the tones and volumes that you hear, whereas others may pinpoint other ear-related factors such as balance, and where (in the ear or brain) the hearing impairments are coming from.
There are five types of hearing tests that may be performed in an audiology exam. No matter which test or tests you will be receiving, they are all rather quick and completely pain-free.
Pure Tone Audiometry is the most common hearing test because of how comprehensive it is. This test is done by using an audiometer to play sounds in different tones and volumes through earphones. Typically, the audiologist will have you raise your hand when you hear a sound. Which hand you raise will be based on which ear you heard the sound in.
Tuning fork tests may indicate whether hearing loss is caused by damage to the vibrating parts of your middle ear and eardrum, or damage to inner ear nerves or damage to both. A tuning fork is a two-pronged, metal instrument that produces sound when struck. The Rinne and the Weber are the two main types of tuning fork tests.
The auditory brainstem response (ABR) test measures the hearing nerve’s response to sound. The test is used with newborns, children, and anyone who cannot complete other types of hearing test such as pure tone audiometry. Electrodes are enclosed in stickers and placed on the head and in front of the ears. These electrodes measure how the ear’s nerves respond to sounds coming through earphones.
These are just a few types of hearing tests that you may receive when investigating your hearing loss. The results of your hearing test(s) will be presented to you on an audiogram that shows the range of your hearing. From here, the audiologist can help tailor a treatment plan for your specific hearing needs.
Remember, it is highly important that you seek out an audiology test as soon as you notice trouble with hearing to address the problems before they worsen. Come see the team at Sonora Hearing Care, better hearing starts here!