As we age, it becomes more common to have routine hearing tests as part of our annual physicals. Hearing tests aren’t performed because something is wrong; rather, doctors and audiologists perform them to ensure that your ears are working well. After all, with age, hearing loss becomes more likely. Nearly 15% of individuals between the ages of 45 and 65 have hearing loss; that number skyrockets to 30% for individuals who are 65 or older. That’s why, once you are 50, doctors and audiologists recommend hearing tests every three years.
What exactly occurs during a hearing test?
A hearing test is a simple procedure that helps an audiologist discern whether you have hearing loss in one or both ears and how much hearing has been lost. Hearing test appointments last between 30-60 minutes and are pain-free. There are different types of hearing tests to examine different components of the ear, including the outer, middle and inner ear.
Examples of hearing tests include:
- Pure-tone testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech testing
- Acoustic reflex testing
- Auditory brainstem response
- Otoacoustic emissions
In general, during a hearing test, a patient will be asked to wear headphones and respond to short tones that will be played at different volumes and pitches into each ear, one at a time. The patient’s ability to respond, or hear, the tone at different volumes and pitches will indicate degree and type of hearing loss.
The results of hearing tests are measured in degrees and types, which means a hearing test isn’t simply pass or fail. Hearing loss is divided into the following categories:
- Mild hearing loss
- Moderate hearing loss
- Severe hearing loss
- Profound hearing loss
Once your audiologist determines the type or severity of your hearing loss, they will recommend the best course of treatment for your specific needs. Hearing aids are the most common solution, with a variety of styles and sizes available to address your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget preferences.
If you’re ready to learn more about your hearing loss, contact Associated Specialists in Hearing Disorders & Hearing Aids for your hearing test appointment today.