Testing your hearing is important no matter what age you are. But, what exactly should you expect at a hearing test? Will it be uncomfortable? What devices will be used? And what exactly is tested? Here's a short guide to your hearing test so you know what to expect. If you have more specific questions about your upcoming hearing test, reach out to your provider to get further details.
Discuss Your Health and Hearing History
The hearing test provider will likely begin by talking with you about your symptoms and what you've noticed about your own hearing. They will discuss your environment to determine if you are regularly affected by loud noises or have a history of being around loud noises in earlier times. They will also want to go over your own medical history and some family members' health problems as they may relate to the ear's health.
Getting the history of your family, your ears, your lifestyle, and the way hearing challenges may impact your life is important. It not only works to determine the cause of any problems but also to decide how best to treat your hearing loss without interrupting your daily life.
Take 3 Basic Tests
Most hearing professionals use three basic tests to assess your ability to hear sounds. One test uses tones, one uses speech, and one looks at the responsiveness of the inner ear itself.
Pure tone testing is what it sounds like: a hearing test that involves using tones at different frequencies and decibel levels to determine how well each ear responds. When you take the test, you'll probably be in a soundproof environment and use headphones. You'll want to pay attention and respond as well as you can so that the testing professional can register accurate results when sounds are very soft or high frequency.
Another common hearing test is similar but uses speech instead of tones. You will be asked to repeat words spoken through headphones. This is often a more real-world test and may even be done in a noisy environment. If you experience problems mostly in busy situations, this is a very useful measurement tool.
The tympanometry test assesses the reflexive movements and responses of your middle ear when sounds impact it. You won't be aware of these responses, but they show physical problems with the eardrum and muscles around it. Your provider may use a small probe in your ear, but the test should not be particularly uncomfortable.
Go Over Your Results
Hearing test results are generally placed on a graph that shows how your ability to hear different levels of sound changes. Graphs generally show the frequencies of sounds, from low frequency noises to high frequency ones, and loudness of the sounds. You can then see how each ear responded to various frequencies and a range of intensity of sounds.
Your provider will go over the meaning of the graphs with you. The graph may show, for example, that you can hear low frequency sounds at normal decibel levels, but you can't hear as easily as the frequency becomes higher. The graph may also reveal problems with one ear rather than both. Identifying the frequencies and decibel levels in which you experience trouble helps you and the provider create a treatment plan.
Hearing tests are designed to help translate your real-world experiences into data that can be used to create solutions that work for you personally. Whether you're already suffering from hearing loss or just want to prevent future problems, make an appointment with the hearing experts at House of Hearing Inc. today. We're ready to help.