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What happens in a hearing test?

A woman with red nails uses and otopscope to check a mans ear.
Ear Examination with an Otoscope

A full hearing test, also known as an audiologic evaluation or hearing assessment, is a thorough process conducted by our hearing specialists to assess your hearing abilities.

Here's what to expect in your 30-60 minute hearing test:

  1. Patient History: The hearing specialist will start by asking you questions about your medical history, including any hearing issues, exposure to loud noises, or family history of hearing problems. This helps them understand your unique situation.

  2. Physical Examination: The hearing specialist may inspect your ears using an otoscope, a device with a light, to check for any visible issues like earwax blockages or abnormalities in the ear canal.

  3. Pure-Tone Audiometry: This is the classic "headphone test." You'll wear insert headphones that look like little foam earplugs and listen for faint sounds at different pitches (frequencies). You'll indicate when you hear each sound, and this helps determine your hearing thresholds for various frequencies.

  4. Speech Audiometry: You'll listen to and repeat words or sentences at different volumes to assess how well you understand speech. This helps determine your speech recognition abilities.

  5. Tympanometry: This test measures the movement of your eardrum in response to changes in air pressure. It helps assess the health of your middle ear and the functioning of your eustachian tubes.

  6. Acoustic Reflex Testing: This assesses the reflexes of the tiny muscles in the ear that respond to loud sounds. It can provide information about the integrity of your auditory system.

  7. Bone Conduction Testing: If necessary, a bone conduction test is conducted. It involves placing a device behind your ear to send sound vibrations directly to your inner ear, bypassing the outer and middle ear. This helps determine the type of hearing loss you may have.

  8. Additional Tests: Depending on your specific needs and results, the hearing specialist may perform other tests, such as a test for speech-in-noise perception.

  9. Results and Counseling: After all the tests are completed, our hearing specialist will discuss the results with you. If hearing loss is identified, they will explain the type and degree of your hearing loss and discuss treatment options, which may include hearing aids or other interventions.

A full hearing test is a comprehensive process designed to provide a complete picture of your hearing abilities and any issues you may have. It helps our North Star Hearing clinicians to tailor their recommendations to your specific needs, whether that involves hearing aids, medical treatment, or other forms of assistance.


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