What You Need To Know About Hearing Tests
Hearing tests are performed by an audiologist to determine the functioning of the auditory (hearing) system. There are a number of assessments.
Otoscopy: Involves the audiologist looking into the ears with a handheld device. Our otoscopes have a small camera on the tip so you’re able to look inside your own ears on the computer screen! Otoscopy is very important as this is the first step in identifying if there are any abnormalities of the structures in the ear canal or tympanic membrane. Should wax obscure the view of the tympanic membrane, our audiologists are trained in safely and effectively removing this, so we are able to have a clear view of the ear drum.
Tympanometry: Is a test that checks the health of the eardrum and middle ear bones/structures. Some people often call this a pressure test. It is not painful and only takes a few seconds. A small amount of air pressure is released into the ear canal/towards the eardrum to get a response back from the middle ear. If there is middle ear fluid, pressure, eardrum perforation etc, this test will let us know.
Hearing test: This is how we check an individual’s hearing thresholds. Firstly, air conduction audiometry is performed. This is conducted with the use of headphones (over the ear) or in insert phones (in the ear). An individual will be asked to press a button when a sound is heard. There are different testing procedures for different age groups. Air conduction audiometry checks the threshold in which sound is heard when passing through all 3 parts of the ear (outer ear, middle ear and to the inner ear). Secondly, bone conduction audiometry is performed in order to check the functioning of the hearing organ (cochlear). A headband like device is placed behind the ear on the mastoid bone and sounds are heard by the patient. Bone conduction works differently to air conduction, as sound bypasses the outer and middle ear and goes directly to the inner ear (cochlear). Bone conduction testing is very important in determining what type of hearing loss a patient may have. Whether the hearing loss is occurring in the outer ear, middle ear, or inner ear, or a mixture between the 3. This helps us in determining the possible location of the problem.
Speech audiometry: Speech testing is performed after a hearing test to help verify the hearing thresholds and ensure all assessments are consistent. Usually, this test involves presenting single words through the headphones and the patient is asked to repeat these words out loud, which will then be scored by the audiologist. Other speech tests include repeating back short sentences with other background noise present. These tests can be tricky!
Rest assured, our audiologists will customise each hearing test to suit the age and needs of each individual patient.