A hearing test is a painless and noninvasive way to find out the severity and type of hearing loss. There are multiple tests that make up the whole evaluation, and are used to formulate the correct treatment plan. Salyer Hearing Center keeps patients informed and comfortable throughout the entire testing process. The path to better hearing starts with these tests, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with them.
Diagnostic audiologic evaluation
A diagnostic hearing evaluation finds a patient’s threshold for each frequency. In the pure tone portion of the test, different tones and intensities are tested with headphones. Frequencies start at 250 hertz but can go up to 12,000 hertz during testing. Since ambient noise can affect the results of the test, it is usually done in a soundproof room. The speech reception threshold (SRT) is the follow-up, and is done to ensure the accuracy of the original pure tone test. In the unlikely event where the tests don’t match, further testing will be required. Word recognition testing is also performed. This test is used to determine which words an individual can accurately hear at certain volumes.
Other possible tests include:
- Tympanometry: Air pressure is inserted into each ear to test the eardrum, Eustachian tube and middle ear space
- Acoustic reflex thresholds: Measuring of the stapedius muscle and its response to a loud sound
- Distortion product otoacoustic emissions: A machine tests the outer hair cells in the cochlea and how they respond to sound stimuli
Tests aren’t lengthy, so most patients will be done in half an hour if no further testing is needed.
Industrial hearing screening
Depending on the occupation, industrial hearing screenings are mandatory. This is usually in high noise environments where hearing loss can affect job performance. When long-term hearing damage from work noise exposure is a possibility, industrial hearing screenings become a necessity. The testing is not just limited to new employees, but all employees on payroll. Standardized practice requirements are set up by local organizations in power like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Current rules and regulations will differ per state, with multiple organizations following their own standardized set of rules. Benefits of industrial screening include onsite diagnostic tests to detect hearing loss in one or both ears. If the problem is severe, then recommendations will be made to go see a professional. Industrial hearing screenings help in detecting hearing loss on the job. But the final step to getting help is still in the hands of the affected workers.
Hearing testing is essential to determine not only if a hearing loss is present, but to establish a baseline for future evaluations. If you are struggling to hear as well as you once did, schedule an appointment with Salyer Hearing Center to have your hearing evaluated.