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Getting a hearing test
"The purpose of a hearing test is to determine not only whether or not an individual has a loss, but how severe it is and what course of treatment should be applied. Most hearing tests require individuals to be in a quiet, sound-treated room with special headphones or earplugs to wear. These headphones are usually connected to an audiometer. The sound-treated space is designed to keep out any other noises which might hinder an individual’s hearing exam scores, such as the heater, air conditioner or office environment.
A sound booth used for hearing evaluations is generally equipped with speakers for testing infants, small children and patients who are already wearing hearing aids or have cochlear implants. The sound field testing should be done with the patient sitting the acoustic centre of the space.
Once in the booth, the individual will be asked to listen to a variety of tones and the test will keep track of what sounds an individual is struggling to hear. This part of the exam is usually known as the pure-tone audiometry. In the event a patient isn’t sure whether or not they hear a sound, they should respond, the hearing care professional will notify them if they’re responding too often. This part of the exam can help the audiologist decide whether or not a particular pitch or frequency is more troubling to the individual.
Speech audiometry is another way to test an individual’s hearing ability, but it uses recorded or live speech instead of pure tones. The speech portion of the exam evaluates the patient's threshold for speech sounds and how well an individual can understand and repeat back words that are presented at a level well above threshold. Sometimes practitioners may also use speech sounds to determine the individual's most comfortable listening level and the upper limits of comfort for listening.
As part of a hearing exam, the practitioner also may test a person’s tympanometry and acoustic reflexes. For these tests, a soft plug will be placed in the ear which will change pressure and generate noises. This will help gauge how your eardrum is moving and will measure the reflexive responses of the middle ear muscles."