Hearing is important. If you think you don’t hear as well as you used to, you may be right. Like most concerns, addressing sensory loss head-on is an effective strategy for conquering the problem.
In this article, we discuss hearing frequency tests. Our goal is to provide you with enough information for a successful test.
What Is a Hearing Frequency Test?
Humans can usually perceive sound with frequencies between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz. Some, however, have difficulty picking up higher-level frequencies. Both aging and exposure to loud noises can cause this type of sensory loss.
When you undergo an aural test, a medical professional exposes you to different hearing test frequency levels. You listen to these sounds through headphones and give a signal to the testing staff when you hear sounds.
The test is painless and only takes a few minutes to complete. Generally, medical professionals conduct hearing frequency tests as part of an overall exam to determine the health of your ear and nerve functions. These exams can take up to an hour to complete.
What Can You Expect at Your Hearing Test?
Often, individuals delay important tests because they do not know what to expect. As far as medical procedures go, hearing tests are non-invasive and pain-free.
When you visit your doctor or a specialist, you can plan to have a regular session. The following are the basic components of a hearing appointment.
Complete a Few Forms
If you are visiting an audiologist or hearing specialist, you may not have been to the office before. As such, you should arrive about 30 minutes early to complete a few forms. There is nothing out of the ordinary here.
The first set of forms you are likely to complete are biographical forms. This tells your hearing specialist some important information about you, including your name, address, and age.
You also need to provide insurance information. Most insurers cover these tests. If you are uncertain whether your policy includes a hearing assessment, check with your insurer before scheduling your appointment.
After you provide biographical and insurance information, you will likely provide information about your medical history. While auditory specialists diagnose hearing loss, they also make sure you aren’t experiencing a medical condition that could cause sensory problems.
Be sure to be as thorough as possible to give your hearing specialist or audiologist enough information to make a proper diagnosis.
Additionally, you should bring a list of any medications you are currently taking. Also, try to remember any medications you have taken in the past. Sometimes, prescription and other drugs can affect hearing.
If you have a complete list of all substances, your auditory specialist can determine if medication may be contributing to your hearing concerns.
Undergo an Examination
After you complete your appointment forms, you are ready for an ear examination. When you meet your specialist, be sure to thoroughly explain your concerns. If you have had trouble with hearing loss in the past or experienced tinnitus — or another hearing condition — mention it.
Also, tell the audiologist if you are experiencing pain or tenderness in your ears. Remember, the more information your treatment provider has, the better he or she can diagnose and treat you.
The first part of your hearing examination is likely to be a visual inspection of your ears. To see inside your ears, your hearing specialist will probably use an otoscope.
While the name sounds intimidating, an otoscope is a harmless piece of equipment. Its tip barely inserts into your ear canal. A magnifier allows the audiologist to see your eardrum and other parts of your ear.
Participate in a Hearing Test
Following a visual examination of your ear, the technician or physician will probably conduct a hearing test. The purpose of the test is to see which sounds you can pick up and which ones you can’t. Like the visual examination of your ears, the auditory test is painless. Generally, hearing specialists conduct these tests in three parts.
The first part is a pressure test. During this test, the hearing specialist applies pressure to your eardrum to determine if it is vibrating correctly. Some patients worry that ear-drum pressure will be uncomfortable. For most, though, that isn’t the case.
The second part is a tone test. When you are participating in the test, the auditory specialist uses certain hearing test frequency tools to determine which frequencies you can perceive. Plan to wear headphones and indicate to the examination specialist when you hear sounds.
The final part of a hearing test is usually a speech test. During the speech test, you’ll listen to a recording with words and sentences at different volume levels.
The audiologist asks you to repeat the phrases. If you repeat something incorrectly, your testing professional may determine you have difficulty hearing some sounds.
Discuss Your Results
With many medical tests, you have to wait a few days or longer for test results. With a hearing test, however, you usually get test results right away. After finishing all phases of the examination, expect your audiologist to discuss his or her conclusions with you.
Usually, results come in a graph called an audiogram. This graph shows you which sounds and frequencies you can hear. The graph has two axes.
The vertical one indicates the volume of the sounds played during your test. The horizontal axis indicates which sounds you were able to hear.
Hearing loss is measured in decibels. The person administering your test can explain to you whether you are hearing normally or abnormally. Generally, though, the following categories apply:
- 0 to 25 decibels – normal hearing
- 25 to 40 decibels – mild hearing loss
- 41 to 70 decibels – moderate hearing loss
- 71 to 90 decibels – severe hearing loss
- More than 91 decibels – profound hearing loss
If the person who gave you your test is unable to treat your hearing loss, he or she may ask you to see an ear, nose and throat specialist.
These doctors usually have more equipment and better training to help them diagnose and treat serious problems. On the other hand, if you don’t need additional medical services, your specialist may recommend hearing aids or other treatment options.
When you are discussing your results with the audiologist, be sure you talk about any questions or concerns you have. Specialists understand how to manage hearing loss. They are often in the best position to give you solid advice about improving your sensory abilities.
How Often Should You Have a Hearing Frequency Test?
Most adults should have their ears checked every few years. You should participate in a hearing frequency test more often if you are experiencing hearing loss. You should also consider scheduling annual tests if you work in a noisy environment or are otherwise subjected to loud sounds.
Your insurance plan may have a schedule for hearing tests. If you want to avoid paying out of pocket for your examination, you should try to understand your coverage.
You may need a referral from your primary care doctor to an audiologist who can conduct a test. Of course, many family doctors have the equipment and expertise to conduct ordinary hearing tests at regular appointments.
What’s the Difference Between Online Hearing Frequency Tests and Professional Hearing Frequency Tests?
In the modern digital age, the internet seems to have everything. That includes online hearing frequency test sites. Some online tests are pretty good. That is, they can tell you if you need to see a specialist.
They can’t, of course, recommend treatment options for sensory loss. They also can’t identify serious medical conditions. While you may choose to try an online test, you should remember to follow up with a professional specialist afterward. This is true even if the test indicates you have normal hearing.
Online hearing tests are usually one of two types. The first style is in a questionnaire format. You answer a series of questions about your abilities.
The testing site generates results that tell you if you need to seek expert assistance. The other type of audio test plays certain frequencies. If you can’t perceive them, you likely need to schedule an appointment with an audiologist.
Again, while online tests can be helpful, they aren’t a substitute for a professional evaluation. If you think you are having trouble hearing, you probably are. Visiting a specialist is the best way to measure the severity of your sensory loss and explore ways to improve it.
If you are wondering whether you have a sensory loss, you shouldn’t put off scheduling a test. While all medical appointments can be intimidating, these are usually fast and painless.
In fact, you can probably complete a full physical and nerve test in under an hour. Knowing whether you can hear completely and accurately is well worth the time investment.
By understanding how these appointments work, you can better position yourself for a successful appointment. Remember, your hearing is important. Instead of delaying a necessary examination, consider asking your doctor to arrange for a hearing frequency test.