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What is Involved in a Hearing Test?
A hearing test provides an evaluation of the sensitivity of a person’s sense of hearing. The equipment that is most frequently used to assess a person’s hearing sensitivity is called an audiometer. Before the actual test begins we’ll take a detailed history of the patient, focusing on his or her hearing health history. Following that, we do a thorough examination of the outer ear and external ear canal. We use an instrument called an otoscope to make sure the ear canal is free of wax.
Pure Tone Audiometry
The actual hearing test starts with pure tone audiometry. The patient is asked to wear a set of headphones either in or over the ear. The pure tone audiometry test assesses air and bone conduction thresholds for each ear using
The audiologist may also conduct speech testing. Speech testing is done to assess how well a patient is able to understand spoken words under a variety of test conditions.
Middle Ear Testing
To get a better idea of how the eardrum, middle ear bones and other structures in the middle ear are working a test called acoustic immittance testing may be done. Acoustic Immittance audiometry helps to localize what part of the ear may be involved in a hearing loss.
Hearing Loss FAQ
What is the strongest predictor of hearing loss?
Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults aged 20-69, with the greatest amount of hearing loss occurring past the age of 60.
Is my hearing normal for my age?
Your hearing is either in the range of “normal” or it isn’t. There are no standards or gauges for what constitutes “normal” at various ages.
Who is more likely to suffer with hearing loss?
Men are almost twice as likely as women to have hearing loss chiefly because they tend to work in noisier environments.
Why do I hear some things better than others?
A common misconception is that hearing loss is simply a uniform decrease in volume. In fact hearing loss can affect hearing levels differently at different frequencies (pitches).
The majority of people who experience hearing loss tend to lose the ability to hear higher pitched sounds before they lose the ability to hear low-pitched sounds. High frequency hearing loss results in increased difficulty understanding speech clearly in noisy environments. So if you’re wondering why you feel like you hear fine in quiet, one-on-one setting but can’t hear well in restaurants or groups, it’s very possible you have high frequency hearing loss.
What is the prevalence of hearing loss present at birth?
About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with sensorineural (or “nerve deafness”) hearing loss in one or both ears.
How many people have hearing loss?
Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing, but more than 50% of adults over 60 report symptoms of hearing loss.
The Degrees of Hearing Loss
Are there different degrees of hearing loss? The easy answer is yes. But any degree of hearing loss can be considered significant—and should be treated—if it impacts your life, your work, your hobbies and your relationships.
Do You Have Hearing Loss?
Online Hearing Screening
In just a few minutes we can give you an idea of how well you’re hearing. You need headphones for this test. Please be aware that this test is not a diagnostic clinical hearing evaluation and is not designed to replace a professional hearing test.
Hearing Loss and Noise
At this time, scientists don’t know how to prevent age-related hearing loss. However, you can protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss by protecting your ears from sounds that are too loud and last too long. It’s important to be aware of potential sources of damaging noises, such as loud music, firearms, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers. Avoiding loud noises, reducing the amount of time you’re exposed to loud noise, and protecting your ears with ear plugs or ear muffs are easy things you can do to protect your hearing and limit the amount of hearing you might lose as you get older.
Research into Hearing Loss
The National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is supporting research on the causes of age-related hearing loss, including genetic factors. Some NIDCD-supported scientists are exploring the potential to regrow new hair cells in the inner ear using drug or gene therapies. Other NIDCD-supported work is exploring medications that may reduce or prevent noise-induced and age-related hearing loss. Scientists supported by the NIDCD are also developing and refining devices that can be used to help people with age-related hearing loss.