Have you been asking others to repeat themselves more often? Does it seems like EVERYONE mumbles? Have family members commented on how you turn up the TV volume more than usual? If so...
This is one of the most common questions we get from new patients,
especially from those who have never experienced a hearing test in their
life. The main goal of a hearing test is for an audiologist to check the human
auditory pathways which include the inner, outer and middle ear.
As mentioned above, you would need a hearing test if you yourself
have been noticing changes in your hearing. More serious cases that may entail
a hearing test include a suspected blockage or brain damage.
The results of a hearing test will determine the next steps of an
audiologist and the intervention to be given, including the use of hearing aids
or cochlear implants.
A hearing test is usually performed in a soundproof room or sound
enclosure to ensure that the ears will be masked from external noise. A patient
will be asked to push buttons whenever they hear certain sounds. If anyone feels claustrophobic a hearing test can be completed outside the sound booth with a special set of headphones.
There’s no such thing as equal hearing - even a pair of identical
twins will have different hearing levels! There are also different types of
hearing loss: some may hear better with low or high pitches, some may
experience "tone deafness" while some may still hear well but have difficulty
hearing certain tones or frequencies. All those “could be’s” and unknowns can be settled with a hearing test. Because hearing loss is relative and lies on a wide spectrum of
levels, a comprehensive hearing exam is the way to establish an accurate
hearing loss diagnosis. The patient may sit inside the sound booth for 10-15 minutes for the hearing testing while an audio sampling and assessment is performed
to determine if and where there are sound voids.
The mechanical function of the eardrum is checked through a tuning
fork test where the sounds are introduced directly through the ear, skull or
cranium. Sounds can be heard through vibration and this type of hearing can
give an audiologist information about that certain part of the ear.
A tympanometer is another machine used during a hearing test. With
a tympanometer, the movement of the mechanisms in the ears is measured as
pressures are presented. We would want to ensure that the middle ear is healthy
and working the way it should be mechanically.
Now, let’s discuss more about how a hearing test is done on
different parts of the ears.
The most exposed part of the ear is the outer ear. We want to
ensure this area is clean and clear from any debris. In this test, the
health of the eardrum is also checked - ensuring it is intact with no
visible obstruction to block sounds from going where it needs to go.
The middle ear begins with the eardrum, which has a mechanical
function in the hearing process. Think of the eardrum as a sail of a sailboat;
there are bones attached to the eardrum and the bones are moving along with the
I have been a client of Hear Care for over 10 years and could not ask for a better experience. Not only are Ken and Patrick professional and expert in meeting my hearing needs, but they make each visit a welcoming experience. The staff goes beyond all expectations to make everyone feel like family. It is a pleasure to come in for my appointments.
The auditory pathways are also checked during a hearing test. This
part is full of dense fluid with around 20,000 tiny hair cells which plays a
role in the ear controls.
When viewed with the naked eye, the hair cells inside the auditory
pathways look quite similar to the hairs on our hand; but, when viewed
microscopically, it is actually composed of a thousand hair cells, each playing
a small yet significant part to control tone or pitch. Over time, the hairs
inside the ear can change, just like the hairs on top of our head.
These changes can be brought on by the natural ageing process or
be triggered by ototoxic medications or noise. Did you know that 90% of hearing
loss occurs due to the damage or atrophy of the ear’s hair cells? A hearing
test can physically check the integrity of the inner ear hair cells.
Nowadays, people have access to online hearing tests, which is quite convenient because it eliminates the need to leave home and go to an audiologist clinic. But perhaps you wonder if online hearing tests are accurate. From an expert’s point of view, the results of an online hearing test may or may not be accurate, but will not be guaranteed or provide a complete assessment of hearing problems. There’s really nothing wrong with trying an online hearing test (especially if it’s FREE), but we would suggest that you correlate or confirm the results of an online hearing test with a comprehensive hearing exam connducted by an audiologist.
In the hearing health field, the word recruitment takes on a whole
different meaning. Recruitment is a phenomenon where an individual experiences
an abnormal loudness growth.
A person with hearing loss does not necessarily need to make ALL
SOUNDS louder just to hear better. There are instances when just certain sounds
in specific frequencies need to be a bit louder. We don’t want to make the
sounds TOO LOUD for patients, and a hearing test would be the best guide for
Your hearing test helps the audiologist provide balanced
amplification so hearing aid users will enjoy audio sounds at adequate and comfortable levels based
on his or her unique hearing loss.
A hearing test can also determine the amount of noise a patient
can tolerate in order to understand what is being said by a speaker.
During a hearing test, your audiologist may use sounds that mimic
common social situations such as being in a restaurant, in a party, concert,
These type of hearing test procedures allow audiologists
to identify hearing limits and capabilities in noisy environments.
A hearing test greatly helps in guiding an audiologist to provide you with the best
hearing treatment and hearing aid options.
This type of hearing test is used to identify the hearing
threshold levels of a patient, serving as a guide for audiologists in
determining the type, degree and configuration of hearing loss. Pure tone
audiometry supplies the basis for diagnosis, management or treatment of hearing
Speech audiometry is part of a comprehensive hearing assessment. This specific hearing test is conducted by an audiologist in order to accurately measure a person’s ability to
recognize speech. Speech audiometry results can determine the speech reception
threshold of a person.
HearCare Audiology has several convenient audiology centers around northeast Indiana with sound booths for comprehensive hearing evaluations. A hearing test can help determining the reason behind the hearing loss, whether it is a temporary condition, or if there is possible damage to the auditory nerve. Our audiologist's procedures ensure the highest accuracy with your hearing test results.
If done right, a hearing test can be an important step toward improved communication, social interaction, and general sense of well-being of a person with hearing loss. More often than not,
people with hearing loss tend to feel isolated, frustrated in their effort
to be part of the conversation again. We at HearCare Audiology rally for
inclusivity and want patients with hearing loss to be given a chance to restore their meaningful conversations with the people who matter the most. A comprehensive hearing assessment by an audiology is vital toward better hearing health for you or your loved one.