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Types of Hearing Evaluations

Hearing Exam

Ready for your first audiology appointment?

If you’re like many, going to an appointment with an audiologist can be intimidating, mainly because many people do not understand what goes on during the visit.

Understanding what occurs during your first appointment with an audiologist can help reduce anxiety and provide peace of mind knowing that you’re not getting yourself into something scary.

What happens during an audiology appointment?

Keep in mind that an audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional who can test, diagnose and provide a solution for hearing loss. During your visit, you’ll undergo a series of tests that will help identify the type and degree of hearing loss you suffer from. Hearing tests determine:

  • If hearing loss is present
  • The cause of the hearing loss
  • The degree of hearing loss
  • If hearing loss is in one or both ears
  • The best treatment options

Types of hearing tests

There are many types of tests and evaluations available to identify and diagnose hearing loss. The method an audiologist will use depends on a patient’s age, among other factors. Types of hearing tests include:

  • Pure-tone test: This type of test will determine the faintest tone a person can hear at varying pitches, or frequencies. During the test, the patient wears earphones; the test will record information picked up through each earphone in order to determine the type and degree of hearing loss in each ear.
  • Speech test: During a speech test, an audiologist will record the faintest speech an individual can hear. The results also record whether or not the patients can recognize the word. Speech testing can be conducted in a quiet or noisy environment.
  • Middle ear test: Audiologists can use a battery of tests to determine if an individual has hearing loss due to issues with the middle ear. Such testing includes tympanometry (detection of fluid in middle ear), acoustic reflex measures, or static acoustic impedance, which provides information about the location of the hearing problem.
  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR): This test provides the audiologist information about the inner ear and the brain pathways required for hearing. During an ABR evaluation, a patient will wear electrodes on his or her head. Sounds will be played but, unlike other tests, no physical response is required, as the electrodes pick up the brain’s response to the sound.
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs): Testing for otoacoustic emissions, or the sounds emitted by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated by sound, can determine if a person has normal or abnormal hearing.

Your audiologist wants to make sure you get the most out of your appointment, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or discuss any concerns with your professional. Your audiologist will be happy to talk through any steps you may be nervous or anxious about in full detail!