Understanding Different Hearing Loss Tests
Posted by Living Sounds
Whether at home or in a doctor’s office, there can be numerous tests that used to find out if you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss. Here are several common tests that are used today to determine a person’s level of hearing loss.
Self-Tests You Can Perform at Home
Generally, these tests fall under the category of “screening,” which are considered a preliminary step to determine if more thorough examinations are necessary. Some of these screening procedures aren’t considered formal tests, but simply involve monitoring certain situations that could potentially be signs of hearing loss, such as:
- The volume on electronic devices needing to be turned up very high.
- Loved ones not responding frequently when called.
- Consistently asking people to repeat themselves.
Also, there are some self-screening activities that you can perform voluntarily, including alternately listening with one ear covered, and listening to words at ascending or descending volume levels. There are also several smart phone screening apps to be used with headphones that offer reasonably good results.
Free Online Hearing Tests
You could also take an online hearing test. This would tell you if you need to see a medical professional for additional tests. Living Sounds actually offers a free online hearing test that only takes five minutes to complete. It can instantly analyze your results to determine if you have hearing loss.
Physical Examination by a Medical Professional
If you determine that the situation needs to be evaluated by a doctor, they will likely begin with documenting your hearing history. This would include a description of your symptoms and a physical examination. The doctor will check your ear canal with an otoscope to determine any obvious causes of hearing problems. These include, but are not limited to, ear infections, buildup of earwax, and structural abnormalities within the ear canal.
Testing Your Hearing with an Audiometer
Formal hearing tests with an audiometer are called audiograms. Typically, these tests are performed by audiologists. They involve the patient wearing a set of headphones through which various sounds are presented. Sounds may vary in type and volume and are typically sent to one ear at a time. Patients are asked to indicate when and how they heard the sounds as indicated. This test helps experts determine the severity and specific nature of hearing issues. Depending on the results of the history and audiogram testing, additional diagnostic tests may be indicated.
Tuning Fork Testing
Tuning forks are metal objects that produce specific sounds through vibrations. In many cases, they can help a doctor decipher whether the source of the hearing loss is in the middle ear, inner ear, or both.
If your results do indicate hearing loss, you can then book an appointment with us for a rigorous examination. Our hearing professionals will work with you to evaluate the current state of your hearing and help you with your next steps.