If you’re someone living with hearing loss, there are many different tests a hearing care provider can perform to ascertain your level of hearing loss and also how best to treat your hearing loss to maintain your usual lifestyle. As such, it can be hard to understand what you’re booking an appointment with a hearing health professional for; you just don’t know what to expect and whether or not the tests involved will be potentially invasive. 

However, we’re here to make it much simpler for you. Here are the three most common tests that can be administered to keep an eye on your hearing levels. If you need more information, be sure to talk to your hearing care provider about which test would be right for you. 

Pure Tone Testing

Pure tone testing is the most basic and often administered of hearing tests. It’s used to measure the sensitivity of the hearing at multiple Hz levels, increasing in pitch as the test goes on. A hearing health professional will use an audiometer to test what frequencies a person can pick up, from those low in pitch to those high in pitch and a response will be recorded at each level. 

Hearing level is measured according to how well a person responds to these different pitches. Participants will usually be required to either verbally confirm they can hear a pitch or press a button every time they register a noise. These responses are then plotted on a graph, to provide a visual overview of how well a person can hear, comparable to a typical level for their age. 

Tympanometry

This is an audio test that determines how well a person’s eardrum and middle ear moves, according to the sounds around them. The test is performed by the use of air pressure; using an ear probe attached to a tympanometry, a low-pitched tone is pushed into the air, causing the pressure inside to change as the tone does. 

This is often reported to feel like the way pressure changes during a flight take off. As the eardrum moves, the results are charted in a tympanogram and the hearing health professional will be able to tell a participant whether the movement of their eardrum and middle ear is normal for someone of their age and lifestyle. 

Speech Perception Test

Another form of hearing test used by hearing health professionals, a speech perception test is used to determine how well a person can pick up sounds during a normal, casual conversation, conducted within a specialized sound booth. 

This test is good for relating real world situations to a person’s hearing level, by applying background noise alongside having a person listen to words and phrases. This helps a hearing care provider determine how well a person can hear, both with and without the use of their hearing aid and whether or not something needs to change in regard to their hearing healthcare plan.