How & Why Are Hearing Tests Performed?

Why Are Hearing Tests Performed

Our hearing allows us to communicate and connect with others in a way that our other senses can’t. It is one of the senses that lets us engage in and find enjoyment in our life. 

However, for some babies, children, young adults and the elderly, their hearing is compromised, impacting their ability to communicate with others. In fact, one in six Australians suffers from hearing loss. 

For example, undiagnosed hearing loss in children due to ongoing middle ear infections or a genetic hearing loss will prevent them from developing speech and language skills. As we age, people can experience hearing loss, leading them to withdraw from society and experience isolation. 

To avoid these situations, it’s important to get your hearing checked at all stages in life. 

Today, we will be discussing how and why hearing tests are performed. So, if you or someone you know may have hearing loss, continue reading. 

Hearing Tests

Hearing tests are performed to ensure that hearing loss can be detected promptly and appropriate assistance can be provided. 

A full diagnostic hearing test conducted by an Audiologist will ensure that any underlying medical issues are properly investigated. 

You can expect five specific hearing tests in a diagnostic hearing test, all of which we will discuss today. These tests will help determine whether you have a hearing loss, the type of hearing loss and the severity. These tests will also provide the Audiologist with further information to determine whether additional medical investigation is warranted.

Air Conduction Testing 

Air conduction testing is generally the first test conducted by the Audiologist. The purpose of this test is to determine the quietest sound each ear can hear across different frequencies or pitches. The frequency range tested is from 0.25kHz to 8kHz. 

This assessment determines whether hearing loss is present or absent in each ear individually. 

The air conduction test involves the Audiologist placing headphones over your ears. Different sounding beeps are heard by each ear individually, and you are required to indicate that you can hear the beep by pressing a button. 

In younger children under the age of five, play audiometry is used. Instead of pressing a button to respond, the Audiologist will get your child to place a block in a box. 

As the test progresses, the Audiologist will create an audiogram, a graph of the quietest sound both of your ears could hear. 

Bone Conduction Testing 

Bone conduction testing is where the Audiologist determines whether the hearing loss you have is permanent or whether there’s fluid present in your ear, causing temporary hearing loss. 

Bone conduction testing is conducted by placing a small headphone behind your ear. This device sends sound via bone vibration to your hearing organ, bypassing the outer and middle ear. 

Once again, different sounds are heard, and you indicate to the Audiologist that the sound is audible by pressing a button. 

Speech Audiometry Testing 

Speech audiometry testing is used to help approximate a person’s communication ability at different conversational levels and as a checking measure to ensure consistency with the audiogram results. 

The test is performed while wearing headphones. You will be played a list of words and asked to repeat what you hear. Each ear will be tested individually. 

The Audiologist will score your results as the test proceeds. If you have concerns about hearing in background noise, further testing may occur, replicating a noisy environment.

Middle Ear Testing

Middle Ear Testing 

If there is an issue with your middle ear, it will stop the sound from going through to your cochlea, potentially causing hearing loss. This is frequently seen in young children who have experienced ongoing middle ear infections. Adults can also experience issues with their middle ear due to the flu, sinus and allergies. 

1. Tympanometry 

To test the function of the middle ear, the Audiologist will first conduct tympanometry, which examines how your eardrum moves with the changes in air pressure. A small tube is placed into the ear, and a pressure sensation is felt. This test shows whether your eardrum is moving normally, if there’s a perforation in the eardrum, or fluid in the middle ear. 

2. Acoustic reflex testing 

The second test conducted by the tympanometer is acoustic reflex testing

Acoustic measurements provide the Audiologist with specific information about the middle ear, hearing loss, and auditory pathways. The test is conducted using the probe tip like the tympanometry test. However, a loud sound is used to elicit the hearing reflex.

In Summary

Hearing well is essential for people of all ages, whether it’s to develop normal speech and language, maintain friendships or communicate safely at work. 

Therefore, it’s important to get hearing tests at all stages of life to ensure hearing loss can be detected in a timely manner and appropriate assistance is received. 

Book a hearing test if you think you may be suffering from hearing loss. If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss and are looking for hearing aids, we have the best range at EarDeals

We offer a wide variety of hearing aids at affordable prices. Visit our website or email us for more information. 


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