Hearing Tests

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Hearing Tests

Pure-Tone Testing

A pure-tone air conduction hearing test determines the faintest tones a person can hear at selected pitches (frequencies), from low to high. During this test, earphones are worn so that information can be obtained for each ear.

The person taking the test may be asked to respond to the sounds in a variety of ways, such as by:
  • Raising a finger or hand
  • Pressing a button, pointing to the ear where the sound was received
  • Saying “yes” to indicate that the sound was heard
The results are recorded in an audiogram.

If there is a blockage, such as wax or fluid, in the outer or middle ears, a method called pure- tone bone conduction testing may be used. With this technique, the blockage is bypassed by sending a tone through a small vibrator placed behind the ear (or on the forehead). The signal reaches the inner ear (or cochlea) directly through gentle vibrations of the skull. This testing can measure response of the inner ear to sound independently of the outer and middle ears. In these cases, this test helps the Specialist determine the type of hearing loss being measured.
Speech Testing

The Specialist will also conduct tests of listening and speech. These results are also recorded on the audiogram. One test that the audiologist conducts during a hearing test is the speech reception threshold (SRT). This is used with older children and adults, and helps to confirm the pure-tone test results. The SRT records the faintest speech that can be heard half the time. Then the audiologist will also record word recognition or the ability to correctly repeat back words at a comfortable loudness level.

Speech testing may be done in a quiet or noisy environment. Difficulty understanding speech in background noise is a common complaint of people with hearing loss, and this information is helpful.
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