What to Expect at a Hearing Test

What to Expect at a Hearing Test

If you have recently made an appointment for a hearing test, the most important step is already completed! We will guide you carefully through each step of the process with detailed instructions and guidance to make you feel comfortable.

It can be helpful to know what to expect at your hearing test. In fact, hearing tests come in many different forms, and your hearing health professional may use information gained in consultation with you to determine which type of test is right. Each style of hearing test captures a different dimension of hearing ability, but they have a few things in common. 

Hearing tests are relatively quick, non-invasive, and painless. If you do experience any discomfort or pain during a hearing test, be sure to alert us immediately, because these responses can signal problems that require medical attention. Let us guide you through the process, and you will come out with a thorough diagnosis of your hearing ability and potential needs for treatment. The following are a few of the major types of hearing tests, as well as the ways you can prepare yourself before you arrive. 

Types of Hearing Tests

By far the most common form of hearing test is called pure tone audiometry. This test is quite simple. In a quiet, soundproofed room, usually while wearing headphones, you will be asked to listen to a series of beeps at different pitches and volumes. 

When you hear a tone, you will be asked to simply gesture by raising a hand or pressing a button. The beeps become quieter in order to test the threshold at which a person can no longer hear a particular tone. With this information collected, we can generate a report of the types of sound that can and cannot be heard. This simple test is quite easy to perform and can be very quick. 

In addition to pure tone audiometry, most hearing tests also include an element of speech audiometry. This form of testing follows the same logic as pure tone audiometry. Different types of voices may be used, and the words they speak are at different volumes. The person taking the test is asked to repeat the words they hear. This test is used to add speech recognition to the basic tones and volumes used in pure tone audiometry. 

Beyond these straightforward tests that are very common, there are other unique tests used to determine the hearing ability of people with unique needs. Speech In Noise tests are used to diagnose the hearing ability of people who struggle to understand conversations with background noise. By simulating this difficult listening environment, this test provides a more realistic testing context than pure tone audiometry or speech audiometry. When the speaker’s voice is played, another recording of background noise is played at the same time. The examiner raises the volume on that background recording to discover the threshold of understanding. 

Other tests consider physical limitations to hearing ability. Tympanometry is one such test that determines the sensitivity of the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. By sending a pressurized plug into the middle ear, this test is able to determine how responsive the eardrum is when different amounts of pressure are applied. Other specialized tests include testing for “hidden hearing loss,” which is a phenomenon of the brain that impedes the sensory reception of sound, even when the features of the ear are receiving these sonic messages. These tests will be administered when your hearing health professional determines that you have one of these unique limitations to hearing ability. 

If you have a hearing test coming up, there is little you need to do to prepare. Simply come with a fresh mind and readiness to discover your diagnosis! We will take care of the rest of the test, managing your responses to the testing stimuli, generating diagnostic information, and interpreting those results when the test is through. You don’t need to worry about learning to read and interpret the graph that is generated by the test, called an audiogram. We will use that reading to determine if hearing aids are right for you and which are the right models to meet your needs.  

If you are ready to schedule a hearing test, contact us today!