What’s Included in a Comprehensive Hearing Evaluation?

Audiologists and other hearing health professionals will routinely conduct comprehensive hearing evaluations, which feature multiple different tests to get a holistic picture of a person’s hearing health.

What’s included in a comprehensive hearing evaluation in Long Island, NY? Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

Pure tone tests

The pure tone hearing test is perhaps the most common hearing test. In this test, sounds will be projected at varying tones, frequencies and intensities. The patient indicates by raising their arm or speaking when they are able to hear the sound. This test can be used to determine whether the hearing loss is one-sided or bilateral.

There are a couple different kinds of pure tone tests: air conduction and bone conduction. Air conduction tests involve the sounds being put through a set of headphones, but bone conduction tests are a little more complicated. They feature a device called a bone oscillator attached to a headband that gets placed around the patient’s head. A square box rests on top of the mastoid bone behind the ear. The sounds will be “heard” through vibrations in that bone.

Speech tests

There are a couple different speech tests that may be included in a comprehensive hearing evaluation. They are most frequently used in conjunction with each other.
A speech reception threshold (SRT) test requires a patient to repeat a list of words projected at varying volumes. The idea is to measure the lowest volume at which the patient can hear speech.

Speech discrimination tests ask patients to listen and repeat a series of one-syllable words. The results are recorded as a percentage of the total number of words the patient was able to repeat back correctly. The purpose of this test is to determine the patient’s candidacy for hearing aids.

Middle ear tests

The middle ear features several small bones, membranes and tubes that are crucial to hearing, as they transmit sound from the outer to inner ear.
In one test, a tympanometer will be used to send variations in air pressure to the middle ear to determine the mobility of the eardrum. Acoustic reflex threshold (ART) tests are used to measure the level of sound pressure that will result in the connective tissues of the middle ear contracting, so this can be compared to norms. Static acoustic impedance tests measure air pressure flow in the ear canal.

Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing

This type of test is a neurological test of the way the auditory system functions, all the way to the brainstem. It is used to measure how nerves respond to sound. In this type of test, the patient is asked to lie extremely still (for young patients, it may be performed during sleep). The tester applies several electrodes to the patient’s head, and sound is then delivered through earphones. The electrodes measure the nerve responses to the sound stimuli.

For more information about the kinds of tests included in comprehensive hearing evaluations in Long Island, NY, contact the team at McGuire’s Hearing Centers today.