A hearing test comprised of many types of tests that measure the hearing ability of a person including the tones and speech of that hearing impaired individual. Hearing tests are conducted by state-licensed practitioners in special sound booths or extremely quiet rooms.
Usually, there are one or two outcomes of hearing tests. First of all, it checks whether the person has hearing loss or not? And if he has some kind of deafness then it checks the level and kind of hearing impairment.
A baseline hearing screening is suggested for age group around 50 years unless one person is showing any kind of hearing loss symptoms. Professionals believe that in case the hearing impairment is not detected early than the progress will be slow. And conversely, if hearing loss goes undiagnosed, it can worsen more quickly than necessary. As hearing impairment sometimes appears gradually, Everyone needs to have awareness about its onset. Therefore, always have your initial hearing screening at a right time.
A hearing test starts with different kind of questions related to hearing and its history. Typical questions about your hearing may include:
- Have you noticed difficulty hearing?
- Did the problem come on suddenly or gradually?
- Is there a hearing loss in your family?
- Are one or two ears affected?
- Do your ears ring?
- Do you have dizziness or vertigo?
- Did you have ear infections as a child?
- Do you have ear pain?
- Is it harder to hear the voices of men, women, or children?
- Do you notice environments where it’s challenging to follow the conversation?
At this time, you should also be asked about medications you take. It is very necessary because there are many prescriptions related to over-the-counter drugs which are sometimes ototoxic, or harmful for a person’s hearing.
Visual Examination of the Ears
Next, your ear canal and eardrum are inspected by a lighted device called an otoscope that magnifies the structures in the ear. Most of the hearing care professionals prefer video otoscopes through which one can view inside of the ear on the given video screen.
There are few other conditions such as eardrum perforations, signs of infection in the ear canal or middle ear and otoscopes spot earwax blockages. These problems can contribute to hearing loss, and are generally corrected by medical doctors. However, If any of these mentioned conditions is found then the hearing screening continues with the pure-tone air-conduction test.
Air Conduction Testing
The pure-tone air-conduction test notes the very softest tones you can hear at least 50% of the time they are played for you. During the hearing test, one person have to sit in a completely quiet room or sound booth, wearing earphones. Starting with one ear, the practitioner plays tones of different frequencies, (high-to-low pitches), one at a time. When you hear the sound, you raise a finger or press a button.
Each tone is played at softer and softer levels until you no longer respond consistently. The softest sound one can listen is his threshold for that specified frequency. An audiogram record the results which are latter charted.Therefore, the resulting graph shows how well one person’s middle and outer ear structures are processing sound.
Bone Conduction Testing
Bone conduction testing also uses the similar process as is used in air conduction testing. But in this test tones are sent to a device placed which is placed behind your ear of a person instead of his earphones. In this sounds are bypassing one’s outer and middle ear and then pass through the skull of a person to his inner ear. However, the bone conduction testing properly examines your inner ear hearing ability, without kind of influence from your middle or outer ear.
Once the results of both bone conduction testing and air conduction test are plotted on a person’s audiogram, a complete picture of one’s hearing health shows. The picture may show normal hearing or may indicate hearing loss. The audiogram also identifies the type (conductive, sensorineural, mixed), the degree (mild, moderate, severe, profound) of an individual hearing loss.
The next step in the process is testing that utilizes speech. The first test requires you to repeat a series of two-syllable words that are played at successively lower levels. This test helps to determine the level at which you can detect speech.
You will then be asked to repeat one syllable words set at a comfortable listening level, to see how well you understand speech. Therefore, identifying the levels helps to know one person’s hearing device capacity. Other valuable speech tests may include:
- Speech-in-Noise test determines how well you hear sentences in noisy environments.
- Most Comfortable Listening Level (MCL)systematically enhances the volume until it sounds correct.
- The threshold of Discomfort (TD)/Recruitment test systematically increases the volume until it’s uncomfortable.
- Take Charge of Your Hearing Care.
A hearing screening of a person can vary from a short procedure to another test. A qualified hearing care professional will always take the time to explain every step. Therefore, help the hearing impaired individual to understand his or her results. Remember, good hearing is under your control, so never hesitate to ask questions or seek answers!