What is a hearing test?
An audiologist will assess your hearing to determine whether you have hearing loss. The test takes between 45 and 60 minutes.
Why get your hearing tested?
Several factors can lead to hearing loss, including an aging hearing system, exposure to loud noises, infections, heredity, etc. Hearing loss can affect quality of life at any age, so it is important to have an audiologist test your hearing.
What are the steps in a hearing test?
Step 1: Hearing history
You will fill out a questionnaire on your hearing health and trouble understanding speech, to provide the audiologist information on your situation and needs.
Step 2: Visual exam of the external ear canal (otoscopy)
Your external ear canal and tympanic membrane (eardrum) will be checked to make sure there isn’t anything that would prevent you from continuing the test.
Step 3: Middle ear check
This automatic test, called an impedance analysis, evaluates how well your middle ear is working. The audiologist uses a probe to measure and verify the movement of the eardrum, the ossicle chain and the acoustic reflex.
Step 4: Sound detection
Pure-tone audiometry is done in a soundproof room. It measures the quietest sounds you can hear. Different types and volumes of sounds will be played and you will signal when you hear them.
Step 5: Word recognition
After the sound detection tests, the audiologist will have you listen to and repeat a series of words. Speech audiometry assesses your ability to understand (clarity) words at a comfortable volume and discerns the lowest level at which you can hear and repeat familiar words.
Step 6: Results and recommendations
After the tests, the audiologist will explain your results and connect them to the problems you reported at the beginning of the session. Based on the results, the audiologist will recommend various solutions such as getting hearing aids, using assistive hearing devices and receiving specialized care. You will also find out how often you should get your hearing checked in the future and if you should see another type of health professional. Other tests may be chosen by the audiologist to complete the hearing evaluation.