Regardless of if you think that you need to have your hearing evaluated or know that you have hearing loss of any type you should have a hearing test done at some point in order to see how badly you are effected. Age, gender or sex doesn’t matter when it comes to health and wellbeing of yourself and your interaction with the world. There is no cure for hearing loss, once the damage is done there is no getting it back. In the meantime, you should take safety precautions whenever possible for any serious deterioration of your hearing. Here are five type of hearing tests that you can take with a verified audiologist to verify your current hearing ability is up to standard. Here at AXIL we’re always looking out for the customers well being. Therefore at the end of this article, we’ll talk about specialized products in order to avoid any hearing impairment.
At some point in your life there may have been a chance you have had your hearing tested in a doctor’s office or at your school. Usually the equipment used were headphones and you were directed to raise your hand when you heard the “beep” sound. This is called pure-tone testing. It’s also called air conduction testing because the sounds go through your outer and then your middle ear. This test will help find the quietest sound you can hear at varying pitches, or frequencies. Having earphones on allows the sounds go into one ear at a time.
Sometimes when a child refuses to wear them, it’s not possible to use earphones. In these limited cases, sounds will come through speakers inside a specific sound booth. This is would be called sound-field screening. The sounds go into both ears at the exact same time. The downside is, this type of testing does not show if there is a hearing loss solely in one ear.
You may respond to the sounds by
- Saying “yes” to indicate that you heard the sound
- Pressing a button and pointing to the ear where you heard the sound
- Raising a finger or hand
Tests of the Middle Ear
There are three parts that make up your ear, the outer, the middle and the inner ear. If there’s any sort of issue in the middle ear, it makes the travel of sounds from your outer ear to your inner ear impossible. Think of the middle ear is a bridge, if it’s damaged sound cannot get through. In order to find if there are any apparent issues in your middle ear, your audiologist may do the following tests:
- Static acoustic measures
- Acoustic reflex measures
Static Acoustic Impedance
This test can measure how much air is in your ear canal. This will show if there’s a hole in your eardrum or not. Depending on the severity, some people end up having tubes put in their eardrums to stop ear infection or actual hearing loss. This test will also show if there is any fluid behind your eardrums or not.
Acoustic Reflex Measures
Depending on the how loud the sound is, there’s a small muscle in your middle ear that tenses up without you even realizing it. For this involuntary reflex to occur to due to how loud the sound is can explain a lot about your hearing or lack thereof. If your hearing loss is truly severe your reflex may be nonexistent. The audiologist will insert a probe that looks like an earphone into your ear that sounds will come through. Another device will record your reflex.
This test will show how your eardrum moves. Just as with the acoustic reflex test, the audiologist will put the probe into each ear. Attached to the probe, a device will push air into your ear. The audiologist will be looking at a graph called a tympanogram. How the shape of the graph looks will tell them how your eardrum moves. It can show if your eardrum is moving correctly, is too stiff, is too pliable or has an actual hole in it.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
This test focuses on testing your inner ear, known as the cochlea and how it’s interacting properly with your brain pathways. To complete this test, electrodes will be stuck to your head. They directly correlate to the sounds you hear through earphones. The individual running the test will see the results through a computer. No action is required by you other than sitting there until the test is completed.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)
This test is used to figure out any issues with your cochlea, similar to the ABR. It measures OAE’s, which are sounds given off by the inner ear while its responding to sound. In the inner ear resides hair cells that respond to sound via vibration. This vibration ends up producing an extremely quiet sound that echoes back into your middle ear. This is the OAE that is measured in this test.
If you have no issues with your hearing, you will produce these OAE’s. Although, if your hearing loss is significant enough you will not produce these. Just as with the middle ear tests, there is a small earphone shaped probe that is inserted into your ear and measures the sounds that come back.
This is by far the easiest of the tests that can be completed to check your hearing. Specifically, this test isolates how well you listen to and repeat words. One of these is called the speech retention threshold (SRT). The test is completed by the audiologist saying words to you through the headphones and you in turn repeat the words. The softest speech you can repeat will be recorded. You may in turn be required to repeat words at a higher level to test word recognition.
How can AXIL Help Me?
Here at AXIL we currently offer a tool to test your hearing as well as a few different options for electronic listening devices if you are in need of them. Our SmartFIT Hearing Test & Programmer is our device that you can use at home or wherever you desire.