3 Different Types of Hearing Tests

hearing specialist performing hearing evaluation on her patient

Many Americans can experience hearing loss without having it formally diagnosed. Scheduling a routine hearing test with a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) is the first step in figuring out whether you have hearing loss. Then you can be set on a path of care with the necessary healthcare professionals

Types Of Hearing Tests

There are numerous types of hearing tests that your HIS could perform to identify the type and severity of your hearing loss. The type of test you have depends both on your age and the symptoms you are experiencing. You could have one or more of the following tests when experiencing hearing loss.

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

Though this test is less common, it is necessary if your hearing specialist suspects that your hearing loss is caused by problems with the auditory nerves. This test allows them to measure your brainwave activity while a noise test of varying intensities is performed.  

Pure Tone Testing

This is the most standard hearing loss test available to hearing specialists. It is designed to measure the hearing range in each of your ears. This is done by sounds of different pitches and volumes being channeled into your ears using an audiometer. It is usually the first port of call for a HIS to do this test for identifying the presence and degree of your hearing loss. 

Bone Conduction

This test is similar to a tuning fork test as it uses a tuning fork and requires it to be gently placed against the bone behind your ear while it is vibrating. Setting the instrument here allows sound waves to move through the outer and inner ear. This test allows the HIS to see any problems with your auditory nerves or inner ear. In addition, it enables them to determine if you are experiencing sensorineural hearing loss. 

Several other tests are available to the HIS to get a full picture of the hearing loss you are experiencing. These are:

  • Speech perception
  • Tympanometry
  • Tuning fork test
  • Acoustic reflex test
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)

Your HIS will be able to request the correct test for your individual case and hearing loss experience.

Many people will experience hearing loss in their life but having it does not mean your quality of life will decrease. On the contrary, once you have had the appropriate tests for your case, hearing loss is manageable and with the right care and advice, you can live as anyone else would. 

Hearing tests are an important part of identifying the type and severity of your hearing loss to tailor the care you receive adequately. If you’re unsure whether you are or aren’t experiencing hearing loss, book a test with a qualified hearing instrument specialist. They will walk you through all steps of the painless test with ease and kindness.