Do you suspect a hearing loss? How can you be sure? As we all know that hearing is likely to be affected with age. Early signs of hearing impairment can be serious and come about suddenly, or it can be subtle and appear slowly. This can make hearing loss difficult to detect.
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Hearing impairment has wide effects on your health, so getting a baseline hearing test and annual follow-up exams can help you catch it early. The purpose of a test for hearing impaired is to determine not only if you have a loss of hearing, but how mild or severe it is. Hearing screening will help you identify the ability of the hearing problem. It is always advisable to take this test from your local hearing care professional.
Hearing Test Procedure
Hearing Test in Adults
Hearing screenings are painless and non-invasive. Most occur in a quiet, sound-treated room (booth) or enclosure designed to keep out any other noises which might affect your hearing tests scores, such as the heater, air conditioner or office environment.
Audiologists will ask you to wear headphones or soft earplugs with wires connected to an instrument called an audiometer that is used to conduct the test. The sound-treated booth will be available for testing, infants, normal children or the people wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Pure Tone Audiometry test
In the booth, your audiologists will communicate with you and provide instructions through your headphones. You will be asked to listen to tones at different pitches and volumes and push a button or raise your hand when you hear them. It measures the softest sounds that you can hear at each frequency tested. This is called a pure tone audiometry test.
Speech Audiometry Test
The speech Audiometry test uses recorded or live speech instead of pure tones. You have to repeat back words that are presented at a level well above the threshold to see how well you can understand them accurately.
If necessary, audiologist also performs tympanometry. In this hearing exam, a soft plug that creates pressure changes and generates sounds will be placed in the ear. This will determine how well your eardrum is moving and will measure the reflexive responses of the middle ear muscles.
Hearing Test for children
Newborn Hearing test
There are two types of hearing tests for newborn children.
Otoacoustic emission (OAE) screening: This test records tiny sounds that the inner ear makes in response to clicks or chirps that are delivered through a small, flexible plug placed in the infant’s ear.
Automated auditory brainstem response (ABR): This test records the activity of the auditory nerve in response to clicks or chirps delivered through a small, flexible plug placed in the infant’s ear.
A significant number of infants fail their first hearing screening due to the fluid that may still be present in the ear canal right after birth. If your infant doesn’t pass the initial hearing screening, schedule a follow-up screening with a pediatric audiologist within a couple of weeks.
Hearing Test for infants and young children
The audiologist may perform a hearing screening of the children above the age of 6 months through Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA). It takes advantage of an infant’s reflexive head turn toward the sound. The audiologist will play sounds or talk through speakers that are oriented to the left and right of the child. When the child hears the sound and looks toward it, he or she is rewarded with a visual reinforcement toy like a flashing light or dancing bear.
Play Audiometry Test is applicable for toddlers and preschool children. In this test parent or assistant will sit on the floor in the booth with the child and train them to respond to any sound they hear by doing a certain task. As the child responds, they cheer with enthusiasm.
Behavioral Observation Audiometry (BOA) is for babies under seven months of age. BOA consists of making noises such as shaking a rattle nearby and then observing the child’s response.
Online hearing Tests
Today’s technology is too advance to provide online hearing exam for adults, students as well as military people. Military online hearing tests are very important as they should take the online screening in order to check ears.
There are generally two types of audiometry tests:
- Some use audio samples to determine a range of hearing impaired.
- Some ask questions to determine if you’re having enough trouble to see a hearing healthcare professional.
Since there is a free online hearing check, you should take this. But this is not a diagnostic hearing screening. So you should not completely rely on this. It will be better to confirm the doctor in order to conduct the professional hearing check for the betterment of your ears.
Hearing Tests Results
An audiogram helps to present and displays the softest sounds you can hear at different pitches or frequencies. The vertical axis of an audiogram represents the intensity or volume of the sounds. The horizontal axis depicts the frequency or pitch of the sound.
Your results will be plotted in decibels of hearing threshold level (dB HL). These units are unique to hearing testing but are based on the perception of sound pressure levels across all frequencies. For each tone you heard during the test, there will be a mark on the audiogram at the appropriate decibel level.
- Normal hearing (0 to 25 dB HL)
- Mild hearing loss (26 to 40 dB HL)
- Moderate hearing loss (41 to 70 dB HL)
- Severe hearing loss (71 to 90 dB HL)
- Profound hearing loss (greater than 91 dB HL)
Bedside Hearing Test
There are many ways to testing your ear. Bedside testing may be used as a screening action. There are many other methods (whisper, rubbed fingers, ticking watch, and so forth) can be used to evaluate hearing using readily accessible sources of noise. The single most common office test is a Tuning Fork Tests called the Rinne and Weber Tests.
What are Rinne and Weber test?
The tuning fork tests Rinne and Weber tests provide a reliable clinical method for assessing hearing impairment. They help determine whether you may have conductive or sensorineural hearing loss. This determination allows a doctor to come up with a treatment plan for your hearing changes. Both tests are the method used to find a patient’s hearing. Early identification allows patients to get treatment before the problem become worse and progress to total hearing impaired.
Rinne or Weber tests include; eardrum perforation, wax in the ear canal, ear infection, middle ear fluid, Otosclerosis and nerve injury to the ears. A Rinne test compares air-conduction and bone-conduction hearing. Air-conduction hearing occurs through the air near the ear, and bone-conduction hearing occurs through vibrations. A Weber test determines whether an issue is conductive or sensorineural hearing impairment. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves unable to pass through the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when auditory nerves or hair cells are damaged in the inner ear.
Benefits of Rinne and Weber test
It is an easier method for hearing exam. The tests can help identify the conditions that cause loss of hearing. Examples of conditions identified by Rinne and Weber Tests include.
- drum perforation
- impacted wax
- middle ear fluid
- stapes fixation
- nerve deafness
- conduction deafness
Self Hearing Test
Some people are able to identify the need for hearing testing on their own, while some require other people’s advice. Since the problem is a gradual process, people often end up ignoring it during the early stage. Asking people to repeat what they’re saying, trouble listening to people at a crowded place, listening to music/watching TV in very high volume are some of the warning signals. Thus, audiometry tests are necessary so that the hearing problem can be diagnosed.
Are you worried about your hearing? Do you have concerns about how your child hears? Ask yourself the questions below to find out if you should have a hearing exam.
Consult with an audiologist if you answer “yes” to more than two of the following questions:
- Do you find it difficult to have conversations in quiet surroundings?
- Do you often find yourself increasing the volume of TV or Radio?
- Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do you find it hard to have a conversation on the phone?
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy place?
- Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
- Do you have trouble hearing in restaurants?
- Do you think people around are always mumbling?
- Do many people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
- Do you have trouble understanding women and children?
- Do people get annoyed because you don’t understand what they say?
This online hearing exam is not a diagnostic hearing evaluation. If you suspect you have hearing loss then you should always seek out a hearing healthcare professional first. The purpose is to help you determine whether you could benefit from a comprehensive exam and evaluation of your hearing.
The conclusion of the test may show some signs of hearing loss. There’s a possibility that the person is facing difficulties in catching up conversations or some words. If you want to start, you can book a hearing screening on our toll free 1800-121-4408 at HearingSol Clinic.