Personalized Hearing Care

How Does an Audiologist Conduct a Hearing Test?

an audiologist is reviewing a patient's audiogram

If you’re one of the 30 million people all around the country affected by hearing loss, you may not yet have sought treatment. You may, in fact, not even be aware that you have hearing loss. This is because hearing loss tends to be a very slow and incremental process. We start to lose frequencies over the course of years or decades, usually starting with higher frequencies and working their way down. Even if you’ve started to notice some of the signs of hearing loss, like struggle understanding people in busy spaces or frequently getting asked by your neighbors to turn down the TV, you may not have looked into seeing an audiologist to get a hearing test. 

Many find that it’s easier to take this step forward when they know exactly what to expect from a visit to their audiologist. Here we’ll explore exactly what an audiologist does when conducting a hearing test so that you know exactly what to expect when you visit.

Family and medical history check

There are many different causes of hearing loss, and your audiologist needs access to data other than your hearing test data to make an informed decision on what’s best for you and your hearing. As such, they’ll look at your family and medical history and look for evidence of genetic conditions like Meniere’s disease which can cause hearing loss as well as conditions like hypertension and diabetes which can exacerbate it.

They’ll also take the time to talk to you and get to know your experiences with your hearing.

Once they are satisfied that they have enough data they will carry out the tests which will inform their diagnosis and get you the most effective treatment.

Testing what happens?

Hearing tests are completely comfortable and non-invasive. In this next section we’ll look at some of the tests your audiologist may implement in order to ascertain the cause and extent of your hearing loss:

  • Otoscopy examination: Your audiologist will examine the inside of your ears, including the ear canal and ear drum with a tool called an otoscope. This is to check for any external causes of hearing loss including excessive wax buildup, deposits of hardened wax, obstructions or infections.
  • Rinne and weber tests: If all is well with the ear exam, they will move onto a pair of tests to check the air and bone conductivity of the ear. These are called the rinne and weber test and are always done in conjunction with one another. They involve placing a tuning fork at the mastoid bone and on top of the head. Whether or not you can hear the tuning fork will tell your audiologist about the nature of your hearing loss. 
  • Tympanometry test: This is a non-invasive test that ensures that your eardrum is moving properly, and that middle ear function is normal. It involves placing a tiny amount of pressure on the eardrum to gauge its response.
  • Audiometry testing: Finally, your audiologist will carry out an audiometry test with a machine called an audiometer. This is used to create a map of your hearing called an audiogram which identifies which frequencies are inside or outside of your hearing range. Your audiologist will place a set of headphones over your ears and play a series of sounds for you. You will be asked to click a button on a handheld device if you can hear the sounds.

What happens next?

Your audiologist will use all the data gathered from your hearing test to recommend and calibrate a hearing instrument that will improve your hearing by giving you the amplification you need on the frequencies where it’s most needed. They will work with you, taking into account your hearing loss, your needs, your lifestyle, the level of discretion you require and your budget to choose the perfect hearing aid for you

In some cases, they may ascertain that a hearing aid is not appropriate for you. Such as, for instance, if your hearing loss is caused by a benign tumor restricting eardrum movement. In this instance they will be able to refer you to a doctor or surgeon who can advise you further.

Are you ready for your hearing test? Get in touch today

With the right hearing aid that’s calibrated using data from your hearing tests, you can enjoy a whole new world of hearing. Are you ready to take your hearing test and live your best life unencumbered by hearing loss? Get in touch with Lowe Audiology at 260-222-7925.