A Hearing Loss Test: Why is it Done? What happens during the Test?
Doing a hearing test is an excellent way to assess the ability of an individual to hear and perceive various types of sounds, and find out if there are any defects. In most cases, the test can be carried out by your local ENT specialists.
This article gives a general overview about hearing tests, why they are necessary, what happens during the procedure, as well problems that can be identified during this test. The article also aims to educate patients to make informed decisions when visiting an ENT specialist.
There are several reasons to get a hearing loss test, here are the main ones:
- To examine the hearing ability of an individual who is experiencing hearing loss problems
- As a regular test at some point in the development of a child
The purpose of conducting a hearing test is to enable the specialist to provide the appropriate care and treatment to the problem.
During the development of a child, hearing tests may be performed at regular intervals, starting with the Newborn Hearing Screening program which is done a few weeks after birth.
Later on, the child`s hearing may also be tested during a general health review when they are a two or three years old and before they start school. Even so, a parent may also request the doctor to do the test even at an earlier stage.
What to expect during a hearing test:
During a hearing test, different types of tests can be done to check how the ears are working. The tests usually try to perceive varying levels of sound. In most cases, hearing tests will include the following;
- Pure Tone Audiometry Test - These tests involve sounds of varying volumes and frequencies which are played and listened to via headphones, and a given button is pressed when they are heard.
- Automated Otoacoustic Emissions Test - Where a computer device is attached to an earpiece that plays noises and assesses the response of the ear.
- Bone Conduction Test - A specially made machine or generator sensor is positioned behind the ear and rests on the bone to feel how well the hearing nerves are working.
- Automated Auditory Brainstem Response Test - It involves tests in which sensors are positioned on the head and neck to evaluate the response of the nerves to noise played via the headset.
It is important to note that other different tests can be applied to children and adults, although their applications may vary. Today, hearing tests are computerized; hence results are captured and recorded in an audiogram, to ease identification of the problem.
Hearing problems can be classified into two broad categories: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss, based on whether or not the sound reaches the inner ear effectively. Hearing loss problems may be temporary but can permanent in some cases. It is important to note that the hearing loss problem one has will be determined by hearing loss test.
An ENT - Allergy specialist is the best way to pinpoint your hearing problems.
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About The Author
Dr. Fred Lindsay is an otolaryngologist with Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy in Newport News, VA.
While not working he enjoys sending time with his wife and 4 children. His many hobbies include running, swimming, cycling, skiing, and motorcycle riding.