The remainder of the hearing test is performed in a soundproof booth with earphones in each ear as they are tested individually. The complete examination consists of pure tone testing, speech testing, and masking when required. Your hearing health care professional will administer the evaluation from outside of the booth and give you the instructions for all of the tests through their headset. Here is a description of what a full hearing test includes.
Pure Tone Audiometry
- During this test, the examiner will produce sounds, such as beeps, at various loudness levels and frequencies. You are given a button to push each time you hear a sound, even if it is just barely audible. This test will determine your hearing thresholds and the degree of the hearing loss, should there be one. This test will be repeated using an oscillating headset. The oscillator is placed behind your ear on the mastoid bone. This is measuring the sound that is being transmitted through bone and bypasses any problems there might be in the outer or middle ear. This test determines the type of hearing loss and categorizes it into a Sensorineural, Conductive, or Mixed hearing loss.
- You and the examiner will find your ideal listening level. Once that is established you will be asked to repeat words out loud. The first speech test measures the quietest words you can hear and the second, the percentage of words you hear and repeat correctly at your ideal listening level. This test examines your ability to understand speech and the health of the auditory nerve.
Review the Results
- Now that your hearing test is complete, your hearing health care professional will explain the results using an audiogram. The audiogram is a graph that shows the degree of hearing loss. If any red flags emerged, you will be referred back to your family physician for medical clearance. If you have a hearing loss and would benefit from hearing aids, a hearing aid evaluation is your next step and also our next blog topic. Stay tuned.