People often have no idea that they are suffering from hearing loss until they have a hearing test done. With hearing tests, you can discover if you are suffering from hearing loss as well as determine what type of hearing loss you have. For instance, you could suffer from either conductive hearing loss or a sensorineural hearing loss. With the proper hearing tests, you and your audiologist can choose the right device to regain the maximum amount of hearing possible.
A hearing test is a painless experience, but a necessary one, especially if you work or live around extremely loud noises. The first step is to contact your hearing professional or audiologist. Hearing tests are performed in a series of events, beginning with the audiologist asking some questions about your family history. If you have relatives who suffered from hearing loss or deafness, there is a possibility your loss of hearing is genetic. After discussing family history, your audiologist will look into each ear to see if there is any abnormality with the eardrum.
A sound proof booth or room is where you will be placed to conduct the next part of your hearing test. This room provides a buffer from outside noises and sounds that allows you to pick up only what the audiologist wants you to hear. Not all hearing tests will involve a sound booth because not every hearing professional will have one in their office. While in the booth, you will have earphones over your ears and the audiologist plays a sequence of tones at various pitches for you to identify. This is called the pure tone test. You will raise your hand for the ear you hear the sound in during this portion of the examination.
The next type of hearing test that is performed is with a bone conductor placed directly behind your ear. Pure tones bypass the outer and middle ear to directly reach the cochlea. This will help your audiologist see the type of damage done to the inner ear. If you suffer conductive hearing loss, then damage is done to the outer or middle ear, possibly from a build-up of wax, an ear infection, busted eardrum, or some type of birth defect. Conductive hearing loss is reversible with surgery or other medical treatments.
If you suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, your damage is a nerve-related condition. This is caused by long exposure to loud noises, birth defects or problems, age, infections, trauma, use of certain medications or heredity. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually treated with hearing aids, or in some cases, with cochlear implants. How you are treated will depend on the severity of your case.
Whether you have damage to your hearing because of conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss, your audiologist can perform a test to find the extent of the hearing damage. If you need more tests, your audiologist will conduct those as well. Your hearing test results will be shown on an audiogram, and you will see which of your ears has less damage. If there is no damage at all, you can take the proper precautions to be sure your ears stay at their optimum health.