Recapture The Sound Around You

A Guide to Hearing Tests

an older woman is getting her ears checked for earwax

When you suspect that you have hearing loss, the next step is to schedule a hearing test. The only way to be sure is to ask a licensed and qualified audiologist for their opinion. Plus, a hearing test aims to determine the extent of your hearing loss as well as the type.

However, to make sure the audiologist can do their job and find a solution to the problem, you need to prepare. For those of you who don’t know what that entails, you should carry on reading.

This is what to expect during a hearing test with an audiologist:

Questions about your medical history

Audiologists aren’t invasive, but they do have to be thorough. The reason is straightforward – lots of factors can result in hearing damage. Therefore, it’s essential to be open and upfront about your medical history, whether it relates to genetic disorders or medical conditions such as colds, flu and infections. Always tell a specialist about any head trauma you have experienced as it might impact the structure of your ear. Conditions might be old, which is why it can be necessary to consult your doctor about your medical history before the test.

Questions about your current lifestyle

It’s not rare for a person’s lifestyle to impact their hearing negatively. Your work environment might be too abrasive on your ears and cause damage within the inner ear. In this case, the audiologist will warn you about overexposure to loud noises and advise you to make changes. For instance, wearing noise-canceling headphones. Hobbies and social situations are linked to hearing loss, so expect questions about these too. Finally, they will want to know about your energy levels as hearing loss is exhausting, which means fatigue is a telltale sign.

A mixture of tests 

One hearing test might not be enough for the audiologist to determine the problem and craft a quick fix. Therefore, there’s a chance you will have to undergo various tests to figure out what the problem is and where it’s located. For the most part, two methods are used: pure tone and speech audiometry. A pure-tone test takes place in a sound-proof room where the audiologist plays noises through the headphones and waits for your response. The test measures the faintest frequency you can catch. Speech audiometry evaluates your threshold by getting you to repeat words.

Tympanometry and acoustic reflex tests will be used to spot blockages or damage to your eardrum.

Results are shown on an audiogram. The vertical axis marks the intensity of the sounds, while the horizontal one deals with the frequency. For every noise you heard, there will be a mark that signifies the decibel level. To help you with the plotting of the graph, it’s imperative to remember that normal hearing is between zero and 25 dB. 

After that, the audiogram shows mild, moderate, severe and profound hearing loss.