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Hearing Tests and Evaluations

Types of hearing tests and evaluations.

Hearing Screenings:  Presenting a tone at one level at four or more frequencies to see if you can hear them.  This is most commonly done at health fairs, school screens and doctor’s offices.  It can be done by anyone, formally trained or not.

Basic Hearing test, free hearing test or air conduction testing:  Presenting tones at various levels at four or more frequencies to see how softly you respond to each pitch.  This is commonly done to see if your hearing has changed, or sometimes as a part of a more specific and detailed test.  This is all you may get as a “free hearing screening or free hearing test”.

Online hearing test:  Online hearing tests are becoming popular and can be useful as a screening. Unfortunately, they do not help to diagnose the different types of hearing loss, so you can miss medical problems. Also, the reliability of online hearing tests can vary from day to day and even from computer to computer.  Go ahead and use an online hearing test for fun, but if you are serious about your hearing, schedule an appointment with an audiologist.

Diagnostic Audiometric Evaluation:  Much more detailed testing and many more frequencies that will tell which frequencies are being heard, at what level, and what the possible cause of the damage is.  This can include extended frequencies, bone conduction and masking.

Speech Testing:  These tests help to determine at what level you hear speech, if you are hearing it clearly enough, and if background noise interferes with your interpretation of speech.  Common speech tests are SRT (speech reception thresholds) and Speech discrimination testing.  Very few clinics traditionally offer speech in noise testing, but here we perform it as protocol for new patients.  Some clinics don’t even know how to do the testing, even though difficulty hearing in noise is the most common complaint brought by patients.

Tympanometry:  This test helps the audiologist determine if there is any problem with the eardrum or middle ear.  It includes putting a small tip into the ear and changing the pressure.  It is very safe and very effective in checking parts of the middle ear that can’t easily be seen through the eardrum.  It should be done at every initial evaluation.  Sadly, in many cases, it is not.

Impedance Evaluations:  These tests can help to determine the cause of hearing loss in more detail, as well as determine 8th nerve and lower brainstem problems.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder Testing:  Sometimes you find out that your ears are working well and your audiologist states that “You hear just fine”, when in fact you know that you have difficulty understanding speech, especially in noise.  An APD test will determine if the way that your brain processes the speech may be to blame.  Most clinics don’t offer this type of special testing, but we recommend it frequently for those who are having the most difficulty.

Otoacustic Emissions Testing (OAE):  Whenever a sound goes into your ear, a very slight “emission” emits out of your ear in response.  By measuring these emissions we are able to determine if you heard the sound even without your response.  This type of testing is done to newborns, and also to check for cochlear hair cell damage.

At Advanced Audiology we perform only the most thorough evaluations for new patients, so that we don’t miss any potential medical issues.   A comprehensive evaluation is the only appropriate test as your initial hearing test so we don’t miss important medical information, especially when dealing with a unilateral hearing loss, sudden syndrome hearing loss or hearing loss that’s getting worse over time.  Insurance usually covers this test, or we provide a discount for self pay patients. Most places that offer “free hearing tests” do you a disservice because, although they are good enough to see if you need a hearing aid, they may miss crucial information.  Don’t’ cheat yourself.  Your hearing is a serious issue and should be treated as such.  At Advanced Audiology, We take your hearing Seriously.