Hearing test are instrumental in measuring the sensitivity of an individual’s hearing. This test helps audiologists determine whether a hearing loss exists, and if so, to what degree. With this information, an appropriate treatment plan can be developed.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HEARING TEST
Many people in San Francisco and Stockton have their vision checked regularly, but neglect their hearing. In reality, hearing test are every bit as important. Hearing loss is a gradual process that may develop so slowly the patient is unaware of his or her condition until it has reached a stage where fewer treatment options exist.
The sooner hearing loss is identified, the more effective treatment will be.
When hearing loss is identified through a hearing evaluation early, many patients are able to maintain the quality of life to which they have become accustomed. There may be more treatment solutions available, and they tend to be more effective.
WHAT A HEARING TEST ENTAILS
Hearing evaluations begin with a review of your medical history. Your audiologist will ask you questions related to your hearing, and will physically examine your ears using an otoscope.
The hearing test continues with a series of hearing tests designed to measure sensitivity to different frequencies; the results are plotted on a chart called an audiogram. Tests may include some or all of the following:
- Pure Tone Audiometry Test During this test, you will wear earphones and identify a series of tones of varying frequencies and volume directed to one ear at a time. This is used to measure the threshold of your hearing range.
- Word Recognition Test. This measures the clarity of how your ear detects speech sounds and if you are able to hear the speech at a loud level.
- QuickSIN (Quick Speech in Noise) Test. This measures your ability to separate speech from background noise, and is a useful test for determining whether hearing aids will be of benefit.
- Tympanometry. This test measures movement of the eardrum in response to changes in air pressure. It is used to measure how your ear reacts to different sounds and pressures, and can help an audiologist detect problems such as impacted earwax, fluid in the middle ear, perforated eardrum, and tumors.
- Acoustic Reflex Test. Measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear when exposed to sound. Unusual responses can indicate problems with the ossicles, cochlea, auditory nerve, facial nerve, or brainstem.
- Bone Conduction Test. A bone conduction oscillator is placed behind the ear, allowing tones to bypass the outer and middle ears and go directly to the inner ear. This is helpful in determining whether hearing loss is conductive (related to problems in the outer or middle ear) or sensorineural (the result of inner ear dysfunction).