Millions of people in the U.S. live with some level of hearing off. It’s a common condition that affects many people at different stages of their lives, but especially as they age. Hearing tests should be a part of your healthcare plan in order to identify and treat them as soon as possible. Scheduling an appointment with an audiologist on a regular basis is a good idea.

If you have suspected hearing loss, then your audiologist might recommend a range of tests to determine this. One of these is called pure-tone testing. It is sometimes referred to as an air conduction test and is designed to assess how well you can hear at certain frequencies.

Pure-Tone Testing

Your audiologist may recommend a pure-tone test when diagnosing hearing loss. This test has been designed to identify the tones, pitches and frequencies you can hear.

When you arrive for your hearing test, you will be given a pair of earphones. These are designed to let sound pass through your outer ear to your middle ear. The earphones are connected to a machine that produces the various sounds you will be asked to listen for.

Each ear can be isolated and tested individually so your level of hearing loss can be accurately measured. Some people can hear better in one ear than the other. If there is a lot of build-ups of fluid or wax in your ear, then your audiologist may also place devices on your forehead or behind the ear. This will allow the sounds to be felt in spite of the blockage.

In some cases where the wearing of headphones is not possible due to a sensory issue, injury or when testing a young child, then speakers can be used to transmit the sound. It will not be able to test with the same level of sensitivity but can still be a very accurate diagnostic tool. This test is often referred to as a sound-field screening test.

Your audiologist will ask you to let them know when you can hear a sound, either by saying it aloud or raising your hand. Some machines have a handheld button that you can press when you hear something.

Visit Your Audiologist

Much like an annual eye exam or physical, it’s a good idea to visit your audiologist to get your hearing checked by hearing tests, especially as you get older or work in a noisy environment. They can give you advice on how to protect your ears and potential symptoms to look out for. They’ll also be able to supply and fit any hearing aids you might need.

Don’t just wait until you notice. It can take a long time for some people to realize they have hearing loss, especially if it is gradual. Spotting hearing loss early can slow down the process through effective lifestyle changes and treatments.

Pure-tone testing is just one of the ways that your audiologist can assess your hearing levels accurately and recommend the best treatment for you.

Tags: hearing test basics, pure-tone testing