Text Resize

Types of Hearing Tests


A variety of tests* can be done to identify and diagnose hearing loss. The method used depends in part on the age of the individual along with other factors based on specific needs. If you’ve had your hearing checked at an audiologist’s office, you’ve probably received more than one type of test. Here are some of the main types of hearing tests, what they measure and what you can expect if you’re getting one.

Standard Hearing Screening, also known as Pure-Tone Testing – This hearing test determines the faintest tones a person can hear at selected pitches, or frequencies, from low to high. During this test, earplugs or earphones are worn, so that information can be obtained for each ear. The person taking the test will then be asked to respond when they hear a sound. The audiologist may have you respond to the sound in a variety of ways, such as raising a finger or hand, pressing a button, or saying “yes” to indicate that a sound was heard. The sounds played are at different pitches and levels. The results will be recorded on an audiogram.

Speech Testing – This is an aspect of the standard exam where speech discrimination or word recognition is tested. This helps confirm the pure-tone test results and it helps audiologists assess how well a hearing aid can help. The test involves word recognition and repeating words at a comfortable loudness level. It’s also recorded on the audiogram.

Middle Ear Testing – This provides information on how the middle ear is functioning. These measurements include tympanometry (putting air pressure into the ear canal to measure the mobility of the eardrum). This test helps detect fluid, perforation of the eardrum or a wax blockage.

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Testing – This test measures how long it takes sound to get from your ear to the processing areas in your brain. This can reveal if the pathways between the brain and the inner ear are working correctly. An ABR test is performed by placing small electrodes on the head and recording brain wave activity in response to sound. The person being tested is either quietly resting or asleep. A computer averages the information for the audiologist to interpret.

Otoacoustic Emissions Testing – Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) are sounds given off by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated by a sound. When sound stimulates the cochlea, the outer hair cells vibrate. The vibration produces a nearly inaudible sound that echoes back into the outer ear. This sound can be measured by a small probe inserted in the ear canal.

If you believe you suffer from hearing loss, there are multiple tests that can help you find out and get you on the track to better hearing and better health! Please call Evolution Hearing in Charlottesville, VA at 434-260-8007 or at our Raleigh, NC location at 919-670-3258 today to see how we can help.