Your audiologist will utilize multiple tests to determine if a hearing loss exists, the type, and the severity.
Pure tone audiometry – Pure tones are presented at different loudness and pitch through headphones or inserts and a bone oscillator. The patient is required to respond each time a sound is heard by pushing a button or raising a hand.
Tympanometry: assesses the operational status of the middle ear, which consists of the eardrum and three small bones that connect the eardrum to the inner ear. Middle-ear blockages or malfunctions often can be treated medically or surgically.
Stapedial reflexes and reflex decay: evaluates the auditory nerve’s ability to transmit hearing signals to the brain. Obstructions along this pathway would signify the need for medical review.
Distortion product otoacoustic emissions: Test used to evaluate the functioning of the outer hair cells in the inner ear. Useful in determining if a sensory loss is present in children and hard to test patients. Also used to cross-check pure tone audiometry and can be a useful tool in tinnitus assessment. Behavioral audiometry – a screening test used in infants to observe their behavior in response to certain sounds.
Play audiometry – sounds at varying loudness and pitch are presented to the child’s ears. The child will usually wears headphones or insert phones and is asked to do something like point to a toy every time the sound is heard. This test relies on the cooperation of the child, which may not always be given.
Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) – a test where the child is trained to look toward a sound source. When the child gives a correct response, the child is “rewarded” through a visual reinforcement such as a toy that moves or a flashing light. The test is most often used for children between six months to two years of age.
Sentence-in-noise (SIN) test: assesses the patient’s ability to understand conversational speech in noise. It is very useful in determining possible benefit from hearing aid use in noisy environments.
Hearing aid evaluation: Test battery that is designed to match the patient with a hearing system that best fits his/her lifestyle needs. Includes pure tone and speech audiometry, loudness measures, physical examination of the ear, explanation of expectations with amplification, and in-office hearing aid demonstration.