Difference Between Screenings and Hearing Tests

hearing specialist fitting new hearing aids for hearing loss patient

Caring for your hearing should be part of your regular health care routine. It is essential to be vigilant about your hearing as you age, as the chances of experiencing hearing loss increase with the passing years. Audiologists use two different levels of testing to assess your hearing. Firstly, they will give you a hearing screening test. If they feel that the screening results suggest an issue, they will perform a more extensive hearing test to examine your hearing more closely. The hearing test will help your audiologist diagnose a cause for any hearing loss and decide on a plan of action.

The Hearing Screening

Firstly, your audiologist will screen your hearing by a straightforward test. They will play a series of sounds within the normal hearing range of someone of your age from an unseen source. You will be asked to raise a hand or tap the desk when you hear a sound. The screening test is a simple pass or fail procedure. If you can hear all the sounds, then you have no hearing loss. If you don’t hear them all, that suggests that you may have some degree of hearing loss and your audiologist will ask you to undertake a hearing test. 

The Hearing Test

This test evaluates the performance of the different parts of your ear and your hearing. It comprises several separate tests.

Pure Tone Testing

The audiologist will play you a sequence of sounds through headphones. When you hear a sound, you will sign that you have done so by tapping the desk or raising your hand. This test evaluates your ability to hear sound at a range of frequencies and volumes.

Speech Testing

Understanding speech is one of the essential requirements of hearing, and your audiologist will need to evaluate your ability to hear speech in everyday situations. During this test, you will listen to speech through earphones and then be asked to repeat it to assess your level of hearing accuracy. An audiologist may also introduce background sounds to the speech in their test to challenge your hearing further.

Tympanometry Test

It is essential for good hearing that your eardrum moves easily in response to sound. The audiologist will place a tiny device into each ear during this test, gently pushing air against your eardrum. The response of your eardrum to the puff of air will show if there is an issue. A blocked ear canal, fluid buildup or scarring to the eardrum itself can all cause problems with the eardrum’s movement.

Otoacoustic Emissions Test

Hair cells in your inner ear, or cochlea, vibrate in response to sound. This sensitive test can assess the health of these cells by measuring these vibrations. The test is performed by inserting a tiny probe into the ear, which transmits a low sound, stimulating the hair cells. The cochlea responds by producing an echo that can be measured. 

Give our office a visit to ask about hearing tests, or call Alliance Center for Hearing at (701) 401-9719.

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