Hearing tests check how well you can hear. There are many
types of hearing tests. If your doctor thinks that you might have hearing loss, he or she may refer you to a hearing specialist (audiologist) to do hearing tests.
You may have hearing tests because you think you have
hearing loss or you have ringing in your ears. Your doctor might want to find
the type of hearing loss you have and see how bad it is.
Tell your doctor if:
Before beginning any hearing tests, your doctor
may check your ear canals for earwax and remove any hardened wax.
The wax can interfere with how well you
hear the tones or words used during
Some tests require headphones. For
these tests, you will need to remove eyeglasses, earrings, or hair clips that
may get in the way of the headphones. You may
have a thin plastic tube placed in your ear
canal to keep it open. The headphones are then placed on
your head and adjusted to fit.
If you are wearing a hearing aid,
your doctor may ask you to remove it for some of the
tests check how well sound moves through your ear.
Your doctor strikes the tuning fork to make it vibrate and
produce a tone. Sometimes the tuning fork will be placed on your head or behind
your ear. Depending on how you hear the sound, your doctor
can tell if there is a problem with the nerves or with sound getting
to the nerves.
Pure tone audiometry checks how well
you hear. A machine called an audiometer plays a series of tones
through headphones. The tones change in pitch and
loudness. Your doctor will reduce the
loudness of a tone until you can no longer hear it. Then the tone will get
louder until you can hear it again. If you can hear the tone, you
signal by raising your hand or pressing a button. The
doctor will repeat the test using a higher-pitched tone each time.
Each ear is tested separately.
The headphones will then be
removed. A special vibrating device will be placed on the bone behind your ear.
Again, you will signal each time you hear a tone.
tests measure how well you hear and understand normal
conversation. In these tests, you hear a series of simple
words spoken with different degrees of loudness. You are asked to repeat the
words. Your doctor measures the level at which you can no longer hear
the words well enough to repeat them.
Auditory brain stem response (ABR) testing detects hearing loss caused
by a problem in the inner ear, in the nerve that allows you to hear,
or in the brain. In this test, electrodes are placed on your scalp
and on each earlobe. Clicking noises are then sent through earphones. The
electrodes monitor your brain's response to the clicking noises and record the
response on a graph.
Watch closely for
changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and
call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a
list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have
your test results.
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Current as of:
July 29, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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