7 Useful Hearing Tests You Need To Know
After family and close friends have been telling you for years how loud you are talking (almost a 100+ times), you have at last decided to seek professional ear help. Indeed, the first step should be visiting your doctor and explaining your condition. Your doctor will easily identify some hearing defects, but for others, it will be challenging. Either way, to be sure about the hearing defect that you are suffering from, your doctor will recommend a series of hearing tests.
These tests will help the doctor in confirming the exact type of hearing defect that you are suffering from and its degree of severity. According to New Jersey audiologist, Karen McQuaide, these tests are safe, painless and effective. Let’s have a look at the essential hearing tests that your doctor is likely to recommend for you.
Pure Tone Test
Your doctor will use this test to measure your hearing ability of sounds at various volumes and pitches when using air condition. Mainly, the doctor will request you to wear headphones and then sit in a specially designed booth. The doctor will then broadcast a series of sounds through the headphones.
On hearing any of the sounds, you are requested to make a signal, which can either be pressing a button or raising your hand. The doctor picks all the results and charts them on an audiogram, which helps in determining your ability to hear sounds at different pitches and volumes. In fact, you will also hear your doctor referring to this test as pure tone audiometry.
Mainly, doctors will use this test to measure your speech reception threshold. More so, doctors can use this test to determine the faintest speech that you can easily understand within 50% of the speech time. When conducting this test, the doctor will place you in a noisy environment. This is to assist them in measuring your ability to distinguish and separate speech from any of the prevailing background noise.
Acoustic Reflex Test
The doctor uses this test to identify the location of your hearing defection. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, your hearing problem can be located in different ear parts such as ossicles, auditory nerve, and cochlea. More so, different types of hearing loss are located in different parts of your ears. For instance, recent studies by the National Institute on Aging enlightens that sensorineural hearing loss is mainly located on either auditory nerve or inner ear. On the contrary, conductive hearing loss will be mainly located on your eardrum.
This kind of difference in the location of the hearing defection calls for different treatment strategies. Therefore, with such differences in the location of the hearing defect, the doctor has to determine the exact location of any hearing defect. The doctor will do so by measuring the involuntary contraction of your middle ear muscles. This helps the doctor locate the exact part of your ear being affected by any hearing problem.
Otoacoustic Emissions Test
Mainly, doctors use this test to identify three main ear defections. First, they will use this test to identify whether you have a blockage in your ear canal. Also, whether there are excess fluids in your middle ear. Lastly, whether there is any damage on your cochlea hair cells.
When testing for the above problems, the doctor will use a tiny probe, which is fitted with a speaker and microphone. The probe is used to stimulate your cochlea that helps in measuring its response. The doctor will notice some emissions, in case you have a normal hearing. On the contrary, the doctor will lack to hear any sound, especially if you’re hearing loss exceeds 25-30 decibels.
Bone conducting test
An audiologist will use this test to assess the response of your inner ear to sound. The doctor begins the test by placing a conductor behind your ear. It is assumed that the conductor will send tiny vibrations to your inner ear through your bones. The test ought to give similar results with the pure –tone test. However, in case the results are different, your doctor will use them in determining your specific hearing loss and its type.
Auditory Brainstem Response test
Your doctor will use this test to assess whether you are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss and rather not any other hearing defection. More so, you are likely to encounter your doctor using this test to screen your newborns for any hearing defection.
During the test, the doctor will attach electrodes to your earlobes, scalp or head. The doctor will also give you a pair of headphones, which you will wear during the test process. Afterward, the doctor will proceed with the test, when measuring your brainwave activity based on the prevailing sounds of different intensities.
It is one of the tests which your doctor will conduct frequently. The doctor will use the test to assess your eardrum movement based on the prevailing air pressure. More so, your doctor can also use this test to assess the presence of wax buildup, tumors, fluid buildup and eardrum perforations in your auditory system.
You are at the risk of suffering from numerous hearing defects from wax buildup to tumors. Most of these hearing defects will gradually develop without your notice. In fact, you will rarely detect almost 90 % of the hearing defects that you are likely to suffer from. That is why you will need to attend the regular hearing test.
Attending regular hearing test helps your doctor assess your auditory system, and determine whether you are suffering from any hearing defect or are at the risk to. Your doctor will conduct a series of hearing tests such as the pure-tone test, tympanometry test, and auditory brainstem response test among many others. The good thing about these tests is that they are painless, safe and effective in determining any hearing defect. Therefore, keep your auditory system free from hearing defect by always visiting your doctor for any of these hearing tests.