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How Does an Audiologist Conduct a Hearing Test?

an audiologist is administering a hearing checkup

If you have noticed a decline in your hearing, the time has arrived to book in to see an audiologist. There is more than one way to measure whether your auditory system is functioning correctly, and with your audiologist you can get your hearing back on track and working in a way that makes your life better. Whether you are booking for yourself or for your children, your audiologist will be able to talk you through the tests that they perform. 

It’s important to understand the tests that your audiologist performs before they begin so that you are well-prepared. Don’t worry, though, the tests are non-invasive and they won’t hurt.

How are adults tested?

Pure-tone audiometry

This is the most common hearing test available and you sit and listen to a range of beeps and whistles during this test. You then indicate when you can hear them, and you do this by pressing a button to confirm it. Your audiologist will then make the one quieter and quieter until your hearing threshold is reached. Your hearing threshold is the softest sound that you can hear. All of these results are plotted on an audiogram and you can then discuss them with the audiologist. The measurement that is plotted on the graph with pure-tone testing is called air conduction. The sounds are pushed through the air in the ear, down the ear canal, passing the inner ear and into the cochlea

Bone conduction

There is also a bone conduction test which involves placing a small vibrator onto the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear. This again measures the softest possible sound that you can hear. The sound travels through the skull bones to the cochlea, and then the hearing nerves are touched upon. The sounds bypass the middle ear and you indicate once more whether you can hear them. 

When your audiologist sees the results of bone conduction and air conduction on an audiogram, you can learn a lot about what the hearing problem is so that you can work your way to the right treatment.

How is hearing assessed in children?

Children and young babies have different hearing tests compared to adults. They have objective testing and behavioral testing and both have their advantages!

Behavioral testing

This is not a test done on newborns, but it is the preferred method for young children. This test is where the child can let the audiologist know that they have heard the sound, and they interact with the test to show that it’s worked. 

Behavioral observation audiometry

This is a type of test that tests their response to sound. This can be startling, stirring in sleep, suckling on a pacifier and turning toward the sound. Different noisemakers are used to try to elicit a response, and while the exact hearing levels cannot be determined, the right audiologist can learn a lot about your child’s hearing and their ability to detect different sounds.

Visually reinforced orientation audiometry

This particular test involves the child moving toward a loudspeaker when they hear a sound. This hearing test rewards the child with a toy or an image when they turn towards the sound. Children catch on to the fact that when they turn to the sound, a reward is then given. This is normally one test that doesn't have any headphones, which reduces the amount of information given to the audiologist. However, it’s still an effective option to tell whether you have been heard. This test isn’t performed until at least six months of age, where a reaction is better tracked.

Play audiometry

In the same way that pure-tone audiometry works for adults, play audiometry makes a game of the test. Instead of the child hearing a noise and pressing a button, they instead put a marble in a race when they hear a sound, presses the key on a keyboard or adds a puzzle piece to a puzzle. When your audiologist makes a game out of the hearing test, it is better received and keeps children interested. Children are often hard to grab attention from, so it stands to reason that your audiologist will want to perform a test that holds their interest.

Contact us today

Whether you are looking for an updated hearing test for you, or you want your child’s hearing tested, we can help. At Clifton Springs Hearing Center you can call us at this phone number 315-496-4314 to book your appointment today. Our team will be more than happy to answer any queries you may have.


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