Hearing Testing

The Testing

The hearing test is the key element to the consultation.  It will show what sounds you might hear well and what sounds you might need help with hearing.  By having this test done, the Audiologist can custom tailor for you recommendations for improvement. 

  • There is no pain involved during the testing. 
  • The hearing test or audiogram is performed in a sound controlled environment (sound booth or quiet room). 
  • While wearing earphones, you will listen to sounds varying in pitch/frequency (Hz) and loudness level (dB).
  • You can indicate when the sounds are heard by pressing a button, raising your hand or simply saying yes.
  • You will also be asked to repeat common, familiar words that are presented in various volume levels. 
  • The instructions will be given prior to the test, and the test will be as brief as possible to gain the necessary information.
  • After completing your hearing test, the Audiologist will discuss the results with you immediately.  There is no wait time for seeing the results of your testing like there would be for an MRI or Lab work.

The Results

There are four main categories the hearing test will fall into:

  • Normal Hearing: Your hearing is within the range considered to be normal functioning hearing.
  • Conductive Hearing Loss: This hearing loss is usually caused by a problem found in the outer ear or a problem with the structure of the middle ear.  Conductive hearing losses result when the sound cannot be transferred normally from the outer ear to the inner structures of the ear.  Some of the more common causes of a conductive hearing loss are fluid buildup (ear infection), a buildup of ear wax/cerumen, and an abnormality of the bones found in the middle ear (ossicular chain).  Often a person with conductive hearing loss will experience a fullness of the ear or clogged/plugged up feeling of the ear.  Most of these types of hearing loss can be medically treated or have possible surgical solutions.  When a conductive hearing loss is noted, a referral to a medical doctor may be given.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This is one of the more common hearing losses.  Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the hearing nerve.  This is permanent damage that medicine or surgery cannot help with.  Some of the more common causes of a sensorineural hearing loss are: genetic/hereditary, exposure to loud noises, and the typical aging process (Presbycusis).  Often with this type of hearing loss, patients will complain of hearing the person speaking but not understanding what was said.  A person with this type of hearing loss may also complain that others are “mumbling”. A sensorineural hearing loss can be improved with the consistent use of a hearing device(s). 
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: A mixed hearing loss is a combination of both, a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss.  Although there is some permanent hearing loss caused by damage to the hearing nerve, there is also some component hindering the sound going through the outer or middle ear. A referral is made to a medical doctor when this type of hearing loss is discovered to help with the conductive part of the loss.