Are you having difficulty in listening to conversations in public? Do you increase the volume of your TV pretty often? These are some of the signs indicating that you might be suffering from hearing loss. If you feel you cannot hear as you once used to, you should consult your doctor and get hearing tests conducted immediately.

What are hearing tests?

Hearing tests are medical examinations and tests conducted to find out whether or not the patient has hearing loss, the severity of hearing loss, and the type of hearing loss. In addition, there are different types of hearing tests which help in identifying the type and severity of hearing loss.

Types of hearing tests

1. Pure-tone test

The pure-tone test determines the frequencies of sound the patient can hear. To perform the pure-tone test, the patient wears earphones through which he or she hears sounds at different pitches and frequencies. The patient then has to signal whenever he or she is able to hear the sound.

2. Auditory brainstem response (ABR)

This test is conducted on newborns and infants. Electrodes are placed on the head which monitor the sounds received by the brain.

3. Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)

This test confirms the results of the pure-tone test. The patients hear speech at different frequencies and need to repeat the words heard.

When to get a hearing test?

It is recommended to get your hearing tested regularly. Moreover, it is also recommended to get a hearing test with your annual checkup. However, there are also several signs and symptoms which should prompt you to get a hearing test. Here are the signs you should be looking out for

  • Asking people to repeat themselves often
  • Inability to hear conversations in public places such as restaurants and parks
  • Increasing the volume of television and radio
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
  • Inability to hear every day sounds like the chirping of birds and rustling of the wind
  • Difficulty talking on the phone
  • Difficulty in understanding instructions

Why get a baseline hearing test?

Even if you do not experience the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, it is important to get a baseline hearing test. Moreover, hearing tests should be conducted to prevent problems arising in the future. Detection of hearing loss early helps contain it.

A baseline hearing test is a basic hearing test which determines whether the patient has a hearing loss or not. Here are the steps involved in a baseline hearing test:

  1. Physical examination of your ear: The audiologist will first examine your ear visually to check for any structural problems in the ear
  2. Air and bone conduction tests: Rinne test is conducted to check air and bone conduction hearing. The doctor places a tuning fork on different parts of the head and asks you to say when you no longer hear the sound.
  3. Word discrimination testing: The patient wears a headphone and is required to hear different words at varying frequencies and pitches. Once the sound is played, the patient is asked to repeat the words.