At Hearing Professionals your hearing evaluation, or “test”, actually includes several tests that measure how well you hear a variety of sounds such as tones and speech. Hearing tests are conducted by an Audiologist or state-licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist in a sound-treated booth. Generally, hearing test results have one of two outcomes: normal hearing or some degree of hearing loss.
Air Conduction Testing
The pure-tone air-conduction test identifies the very softest tones you can hear. During this test, you will sit in a completely quiet room or sound booth, wearing earphones. Starting with one ear, tones are presented at different frequencies, or high to low pitches, one at a time. When you hear the sound, you raise your hand or push a button. Each tone is played at softer and softer levels until you no longer respond consistently. The softest level you can hear is your threshold for that particular frequency. The various frequencies (pitches) played represent the range of sounds you commonly hear in the world. Your responses are charted on an audiogram and the resulting graph indicates how well your outer and middle ear structures are processing sound.
Bone Conduction Testing
Bone conduction testing uses the same process as air conduction testing, however the tones are sent to a device placed behind your ear instead of into earphones. This allows the sounds to bypass your outer and middle ear and pass through your skull to your inner ear. In this manner, bone conduction testing accurately assesses your inner ear’s hearing ability without influence from your outer or middle ear.
The next step in the process is testing that utilizes speech. The first test requires you to repeat a series of two-syllable words that are presented at successively lower levels. This test helps to determine the level at which you can detect speech. You will then be asked to repeat one syllable words set at a comfortable listening level, to see how well you understand speech. These tests are very important to have checked because even if sounds are loud enough for you to hear them, you may not be able to distinguish the sounds clearly enough to understand them. Identifying these levels helps to further determine your hearing aid candidacy.
After the Testing
When the testing is all over, the Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist will sit down with you and your family member or loved one that accompanied you to review your hearing evaluation, and determine your best hearing solution. You’ll have the opportunity to sample sounds through state-of-the-art hearing aids that we will program to meet your hearing needs so you can experience how you’d benefit from better hearing.