What is Checked in a Hearing Test?
Hearing is often a sense that is taken for granted…until something doesn’t sound right. Maybe it’s a ringing in the ears or a noticeable decrease in volume. Maybe things sound muffled like you’re underwater. Or maybe you’re having difficulty hearing the high or low notes when your favorite song comes on. Either way, the first order your doctor will make is a hearing test. What is checked in a hearing test?
A hearing test, also called an audiogram, is an exam performed by a hearing specialist called an audiologist. This highly trained medical professional will screen for 2 measurements of hearing: volume and pitch. Volume refers to the number of decibels you hear. Louder sounds create more decibels, while softer sounds measure lower on a decibel scale. Pitch, which is measured in hertz, refers to how high or low sounds are.
During the audiogram, both volume and pitch are measured through a series of simple tests. You will be directed to sit in a sound booth noise-controlled room, and then the audiologist will give you a pair of tightly-fitting headphones to wear to control for outside noise that may interfere with your results. A series of tones at different pitches will be played through the headphones, alternating between the left and right ears. You will be asked to indicate when you hear a sound, and which ear you hear the sound through. Additionally, your audiogram may include a speech test. Words or short phrases will be read to you, and you will be asked to repeat them back.
As the results are recorded, they are mapped onto a graph. This graph will give you a visual picture of where your hearing abilities stand, both from ear to ear and against a normal range graph. The results will be used by your doctor to create a treatment plan specific to the ranges that you can or cannot hear.
Hearing loss can be a short-term or lifelong issue. It can be due to aging, trauma to the ear, sound exposure over time, or an infection. No matter the type or cause, hearing loss can have a significant impact on your health, ability to communicate, and quality of life. If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, whether it’s just beginning or something you’ve noticed for a while, don’t wait any longer to visit a doctor.
The family doctors at Westgate Family Physicians offer comprehensive care for every aspect of your health, including audiometry. To schedule an appointment or inquire about hearing loss treatments, call (864) 574-0070.