Different type of hearing tests exists to measure the variety of types of hearing issues and disorders people encounter throughout various life stages. Often, the type of test you need depends on the type of hearing loss you have. There are also some online and home tests that can help you decide whether your hearing loss is enough for you to reach out to your doctor, who can also monitor your ear health.
Hearing tests can help you determine the extent of your hearing loss and what type of hearing impairment you may have. Prevent further loss by seeking treatment and prevention options with the help of a doctor, but first, you will need to go through a series of screening and evaluation tests.
How do Hearing Tests Begin at a Doctor?
Treatment for hearing loss often begins with a hearing loss test, which is your doctor’s best way of distinguishing what your hearing situation may be and watching your loss.
A hearing screening is the first step toward figuring out whether you need further treatment at all. Afterward, your audiologist may recommend a hearing evaluation to figure out the severity of your hearing loss.
In a hearing evaluation, your audiologist may test your hearing in a variety of diverse ways, including the first look into your ears to rule out ear wax or obstruction of a foreign object like a small toy, bean, or bug that could be causing your hearing problems. Then they choose from a few different hearing tests, based on your evaluation.
Types of Hearing Loss Tests
A hearing loss test today is painless and completely non-invasive. Typically, the process only takes around 30 minutes and complications resulting from hearing tests are extremely rare.
An audio test, also called pure tone audiometry, measures the softness or least audible register you are able to hear. Often, this test is helpful if you have been exposed to loud noise or loud music. During this type of test, you can expect to wear a pair of headphones and hear a range of sounds measured in decibels, one ear at a time.
A tone may sound and increase in level until you can hear it again, or the tone may be faint and difficult to hear. You’ll keep track of the results, which are usually plotted in a graph called an audiogram to show the pattern of hearing loss you show.
It is possible to find audio hearing tests online as well, such as through the hearing company Beltone.
Beltone Online Hearing Test
A quick and easy online hearing test option, Beltone can pinpoint hearing loss caused by medical conditions and exposure to loud noise in about five minutes. It’s best for you to take this online test when you’re alone using headphones to test both ears or the speakers on your device, adjusted to a comfortable level for you.
Online tests should not be used as a substitute for a professional hearing test conducted by a professional audiologist, but it can help you monitor your hearing and determine if you need to seek professional help. They can also determine whether the severity of your hearing loss, especially if you have noticed you need to raise the volume on your devices often.
Similar to audio tests, some tests emit a series of clicking noises instead of tones to measure the responses to analyze the data. The tests vary slightly based on the part of the ear function that is impaired. Tests involving a clicking noise include:
- Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) clicker tests are used to test the health of the cochlea, located in the inner ear. A thin probe is used to perform the test, and a doctor can determine whether your sensorineural hearing loss is related to a dysfunctional cochlea.
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests explore the involuntary electrical response that travels from the cochlea up to the acoustic nerve to the brainstem before being processed as sound. Clicking sounds stimulate the ABR while the response is measured, and the data that results can identify the precise locations of a possible lesion in the cochlea or nerve trouble.
To test hearing impairment in all ages, the whisper test is a common choice thanks to its ability to detect a vast array of different types of hearing loss. The performance of this test works best when coupled with a portable audio scope, and general physicians in the United States use this voice test to determine hearing loss.
During this exam, you can expect to sit while you listen and repeat back a combination of letters and numbers that are whispered at about an arm’s length away from you. It is possible to perform this test at home as well; however, a professional examiner will prevent complications and be of higher quality.