If you think that you have developed a hearing issue, then it is wise to see a specialist called an audiologist. This individual will complete tests and examinations to determine if you are experiencing hearing loss, and if so, how serious the issue is. You should be prepared to go through a series of tests, especially if a deficit is noted since this allows for the most accurate hearing aids. Keep reading to learn about a few of the tests that may be completed.
You have likely gone through a simple tone test before. Most people remember this as a child, and they were typically completed by the school nurse at your grammar school. The tests that are completed by your audiologist are very similar. They involve the use of headphones and the transmission of sounds through the headphones at different volumes and tones. The noises are played in both ears and also the right and left ear separately.
The tone test is the one you are likely to receive first, and it gives the hearing doctor a baseline for your hearing loss. Other tests can then be completed to determine a more accurate and specific assessment.
The tone tests may be given in conjunction with something called a speech test. The test may use headphones like the tone one, or your audiologist may simply speak to you. During the testing, you will hear different words and variable volumes, and you will need to repeat these words back to the audiologist. The speech test can help to determine whether the deficit in hearing is producing difficulties in the way you are able to hear and perceive spoken words during a conversation.
Once the initial and simple tests are complete, the audiologist will continue with tests that are more advanced and specific. Specifically, the professional wants to look at the way the ears function. This type of assessment is valuable since some hearing difficulties are related to the brain while others are directly related to the ears themselves.
To evaluate the situation, an electrocochleography is completed. This type of test determines whether the cochlea is functioning properly and is creating the appropriate electrical waveforms to transmit sensations to the brain. A probe is set within the ear for this test and electrodes are placed on the outside of the head. Sounds are transmitted, and as they move through the ear, the activity of the cochlea is recorded. The electrocochleography may be complete with other tests like the auditory brainstem response test, and your audiologist may schedule an entire group of tests at one time.