A wide variety of tests are used to both check for hearing loss and to diagnose hearing conditions. These tests are extremely important for identifying hearing issues. The faster that a hearing issue is discovered, the faster that it can be dealt with and often the more successful the treatment. Here are some of the main types of hearing tests that are commonly used by audiologists.

1. Pure-tone testing

With pure-tone testing, a person wears headphones that test one ear at a time. The test involves tones being played into the headphones to see what the lowest volume is that a person can still hear at. The person indicates when they hear a sound by raising their hand, pushing a button or giving another signal.

2. Middle ear tests

These tests involve an audiologist using specific strategies and instruments to ascertain how well the middle ear is working. For these tests, many different measurements are made. For example, acoustic reflex measurements, tympanometry measurements and static acoustic measurements are all made with middle ear tests. Middle ear tests can determine if there is fluid in the middle ear, if there is wax blocking the ear canal, if there is a perforation of the eardrum or if certain other issues are occurring.

3. Auditory brainstem response tests

These tests involve monitoring brain activity while the person sleeps or rests. The purpose of the test is to see how a person’s brainwaves react to certain sonic stimuli. This can provide very important information about the quality of a person’s hearing. Auditory brainstem response tests can be used to get information about both brain pathways involved in hearing, and also the inner ear.

4. Speech tests

Speech tests are similar to pure-tone tests. Speech tests involve having a person listen to speech and seeing what the lowest volume of speech that he or she can detect and understand is. One way that speech tests are different than tone tests are that they often also test for speech detection when there is background noise, including conversations. These tests can help to determine whether or not a person has certain hearing issues.

When you make an appointment to have your hearing tested by an audiologist, they’ll collect important medical information on you, your symptoms and any medications you take. Using these background details and the results of your hearing tests, your audiologist will be able to not only diagnose your hearing condition, but recommend the best treatment for you.