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Types, Preparation & Reasons For Conducting a Audiometry Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Audiometry Test

An audiometry or a hearing test is a ear examination that is done to check a person's hearing ability by measuring the sound that finally reaches the brain. The crux of this is that sounds are vibrations with various intensities and frequencies and they travel through the surrounding air. The air swirling in the ear canals as well as in the bones in the skull and ears, carries these vibrations to the brain. That's when we hear something. Hearing tests can ascertain the amount of hearing loss, and the causes. The term bone conducted audiometry comes into play in these tests.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

These hearing tests are done for the following reasons

Screen young children and babies for hearing problems. These problems might get in the way of their learning and speaking.

  • These tests screen teenagers and children for loss of hearing.
  • It could be part of a routine examination.
  • If someone feels that he might be experiencing hearing loss, then the doctor might conduct an audiometry test to check the extent of hearing loss and the reasons behind it.
  • Tests are done to check for hearing problems in adults.
  • If someone is exposed to loud sounds regularly, maybe in the course of his work, then a hearing test can screen for hearing problems.
  • Through a hearing test, the doctor will be able to ascertain the amount and kind of hearing loss.

Preparation

You must inform your doctor if you have been exposed to any loud noise recently. You should also keep away from loud noises for a period of time before the test. If you have taken medicines that might damage hearing, then tell your doctor about it. If you have noticed any other signs of loss of hearing, then you should tell your doctor so.

An ear infection in the recent past might also affect your hearing, so tell your doctor about it. The doctor will check your ear canals for earwax, and might even remove some if there is a deposit of hardened wax, before the test.

Types of Hearing tests

Whispered speech test

In this, you will cover one of your ears, and the health professional will whisper some words. You will be asked to repeat the words. In case, you haven't heard clearly, the professional will whisper it a bit loudly. This is done till you hear the words.

Pure tone audiometry

An audiometer is used to play different tones that you can hear through headphones. The intensity and pitch vary.

Tuning fork tests

This two-pronged device is used to produce a tone by making it vibrate. The health professional will strike the fork and the vibrations are assessed as this test check how sound moves through your ear canal.

Some of the other tests to check for hearing loss are: Speech reception and word recognition tests; Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing; and, Auditory brain stem response (ABR) testing.

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