How do audiologists test hearing?
Hearing tests are quick, painless, outpatient procedures usually offered at audiology clinics or other clinical practices. Whether you're having trouble hearing or just want to get checked out, audiologists can help check for hearing loss with just a few easy tests. Common hearing evaluations performed at a hearing clinic include:
- Ear exam: This is usually the first evaluation an audiologist will perform. Sometimes called otoscopy, these exams involve checking the inside of the ears with a small light and scope (known as an otoscope). By visually assessing the ear, your audiologist can screen for earwax blockage or abnormal physical issues. Earwax blockage occurs when excess wax is pushed back into the ear canal (usually with a q-tip) and hardens. This can cause hearing loss, ear infections, and other complications.
- Audiometry: This is the hearing test that most people think of when they think of hearing evaluations. You will be seated in a sound-proof room and given headphones. Your audiologist will then play different sounds at a variety of frequencies to check for hearing loss and tinnitus. Audiometry tests are painless and only take a few minutes to complete.
- Speech Testing: Like an audiometry test, you will be played a number of different words through headphones and be asked to repeat the words you hear. Speech testing helps audiologists determine your ability to recognize words.
- Tympanometry: This test helps assess how well your eardrum moves and can help determine whether you a condition of the eardrum, an ear infection, or an earwax blockage.
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