There are many different ways that an audiologist can determine and diagnose the cause of hearing loss. Our ears are complex structures that require careful attention, meaning that often, audiologists need to conduct multiple tests to finally find out the cause of a person’s hearing loss. 

When you visit a hearing health professional for the first time, you will likely be asked some basic questions about your hearing health. These could include:

  • How long have you been experiencing hearing loss?
  • Are you experiencing any discomfort?
  • Do you hear a ringing or buzzing in your ears?
  • Is the hearing loss more noticeable in one particular ear, or both?
  • Have you been exposed to any excessive loud noises recently, such as explosions, bangs or crashes?

The above questions are designed to help the hearing specialist determine any potential causes of your hearing loss, before they go ahead and conduct the tests.

Here are three types of hearing tests that may be performed during your appointment with a hearing health professional!

Acoustic reflex test

Your ear is made up of various delicate parts, including muscles, that allow you to hear sounds. The middle ear contains a muscle that contracts when it hears a loud sound and this is called an acoustic reflex.

Your hearing health will be able to be determined by doing an acoustic reflex test. Your hearing health professional will place a small device into your ear that will measure when the acoustic reflex occurs after a sound is heard. The volume of sound that triggers the acoustic reflex can tell the hearing professional about how sensitive your hearing is.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test

OAE are small sounds given off by your inner ear when you hear a noise. The OAE test determines whether your inner ear is working properly by measuring the otoacoustic emissions that are given off by your inner ear. If the emissions are not being given off as normal, this might suggest that your inner ear is experiencing issues.

If your otoacoustic emissions are being given off as normal, this allows the hearing professional to rule out the inner ear as the cause of the hearing loss.

Pure-tone test

The pure-tone audiometry test is the most common type of hearing test, as it measures the overall level of hearing loss the patient is experiencing. Your hearing health specialist will provide you with a device like headphones, which will emit beep-like noises. As you hear them, you will be asked to signal to the hearing professional that you can still hear the sounds.

Pure-tone audiometry gives your hearing specialist an overall idea of how well you can hear, so they can provide you with the right kind of hearing aids or other solutions to your hearing loss.

Your hearing loss journey can be greatly helped by visiting a specialist and undergoing intricate tests that can allow you to get the best treatment for you. Visit a specialist if you are experiencing hearing loss.