The purpose of the basic hearing test, or audiogram, is to determine whether you have a hearing loss. Specifically, at what frequencies (low, middle, or high tones), and to what degree (mild, moderate, severe, or profound); if the loss is one-sided or on both sides; and whether the loss is conductive, sensorineural, or a mixed loss.
A pure-tone hearing test determines your ability to hear sounds at different frequencies. It determines your thresholds for these sounds, the faintest sound that your ear can consistently perceive. Tones of low and high frequencies are presented at various levels of loudness. The record of your pure-tone hearing test results is called an audiogram.
Speech discrimination tests assess the ability to hear and to understand speech. One series of words is presented at different degrees of loudness. This tests the speech recognition threshold (SRT), the softest level at which you can recognize half of the words correctly. A second group of words is presented at a comfortable listening level. This word recognition test determines your ability to understand single-syllable words presented at a level that is loud enough for you to hear them.
Middle ear function tests include “impedance audiometry” and “acoustic reflex testing”, which are designed to evaluate the sound-transmitting properties of the middle ear bones and hearing nerve, the function of the Eustachian tube and middle ear muscles, and the middle ear pressure.
The “tympanogram” measures the mobility of the eardrum. Decreased mobility may be a result of fluid in the middle ear space or scarring of the fibrous layer of the middle ear. Increased movement of the drum may be a result of previous infections or medical treatments. The acoustic reflex test is used primarily today to determine whether there is fixation of the third bone of hearing, the stapes bone, from a condition called otosclerosis.
At House Clinic, we offer the most advanced audiometric evaluation. We also work with renowned House Ear Institute scientists who are constantly investigating new testing strategies.