If you think you may have a hearing loss, a professional hearing test is recommended. Testing for hearing problems is as easy and painless as it is vital. Such a test will indicate the type and severity of the loss, and will help your physician decide what type of treatment is appropriate for you.
Different types of hearing tests are available, depending on one’s age, but most adults will receive a type called behavioral testing. During this test, the patient sits in a sound-treated booth, and uses either headphones that cover the ears or small inserts in the ear. A specially trained clinician called an audiologist uses an audiometer machine to measure the amount of hearing loss in the patient. A basic hearing test is performed to determine the softest sounds a person can hear at different pitches, and the audiologist also tests the patient’s word understanding, which is critical to useful hearing.
Hearing test results are shown in what is called an audiogram, which has two parts. The first part is a graph that offers a picture of how well sounds are heard at various intensities (loudness) and frequencies (pitch). The second part is a percentage number that expresses the patient’s ability to understand words when sounds are loud.
How do you know when you need to have your hearing tested? If you’re not sure, take this simple self-assessment quiz and find out >>