What is a hearing test (audiometry)? What are the types of hearing tests?

By | 11 May 2021

How old is my ears test? What is a hearing test (audiometry)?

Have you ever wondered how old your ears are? As it is known, the sensitivity of people’s ears to sounds decreases as they age. Because of this, they become unable to hear sounds at certain frequencies. If your ears are very intact, you may be able to hear sounds with frequencies that you would normally not be able to hear compared to your peers. “How old are my ears?” The test is based on whether you can hear sounds or not. ‘How Old Are Your Ears?’ Watch the video in as quiet an environment as possible, preferably with a quality headset. Then see what sounds you can hear with your ears. So you can have an idea about your ear age. This self-made hearing test is for trial purposes only. If you suspect you have a hearing loss, you should definitely see a specialist. Accurate measurement of your hearing level helps identify the type of hearing problem you or your child is experiencing. This way, your hearing care professional can guide you on the best treatment options.

A hearing test, also known as an audiometry test, measures how much sound you can hear. These tests must be performed by a qualified audiometric. If you have complaints about hearing, it is recommended that you go to an ENT specialist in the first place. The ENT specialist will refer you to audiometry if deemed necessary.

How is the hearing test done?

The necessity of the patient to have a hearing test is decided by the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor. Thanks to these tests, hearing loss in the ear and the degree of this loss can be measured. During the test carried out in a soundproof room, the person is worn with a headset that disconnects as much as possible from the outside. The person’s reactions are evaluated together with bone and air conduction by giving sounds in different frequency ranges. When the person hears a sound, he is told to press the button on the remote control. The sound he hears may be less intense, very intense, thin, or thick. Audiometry tests are of great importance in testing hearing loss in the ear.

What are the types of hearing tests?

There are 4 different types of hearing tests (audiometry test). These; pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, tympanometry, and acoustic reflex tests.

Pure tone audiometry

It is the most common hearing test (audiometry test). Pure tone audiometry determines the minimum loudness that both ears can hear at different frequencies. In a soundproof cabin, sounds listen to the patient through a special earphone. With the help of the button, it is possible to have an idea about whether or how much the patient hears these sounds. The audible sound level is determined by this test. The hearing level of the airway and bone canal is determined in this measurement. The main purpose of airway measurements is to find the level of the hearing threshold. It measures the degree of hearing loss. The bone conduit gives information from the inner ear. In this measurement; the individual’s sensorineural sensitivity is defined. Sensorineural sensitivity or sensorineural hearing loss can be defined as difficulty understanding speech, even if the sound level of speech is high enough. Finally, extra attention should be paid to some situations when performing pure tone audiometry. These situations are as follows;

  • If the patient has a complaint of tinnitus, he should report this to the audiometrist and request that the sound is sent in a special tone to patients with tinnitus complaints called warble.
  • Patients should press the button at the loudest volume they hear and at the lowest volume.
  • If the bone conduction sound transmitter is attached, it should be kept as still as possible.

Speech audiometry

Hearing and evaluating the human voice, which is the main task of the ear, forms the basis of speech audiometry. This test, which is generally applied in many centers as an answer to the question of how to do a hearing test, is based on the human voice. The main task of speech audiometry is to evaluate the condition of this sound in the ear as a stimulus and to provide information about the ear functions of the person. The thresholds determined for this test are speech reception threshold, speech discrimination threshold, comfortable listening threshold, and disturbing level.

Speech reception threshold, also known as SRT (Speech Reception Threshold), is the loudness based on the patient’s ability to hear 50% of the words he hears. The patient is given 6 words consisting of 3 syllables over 10dB – 15dB based on the pure-tone average. Upon repeating the entire patient correctly, the sound intensity is reduced by 5dB and a different list with 3 syllables is given. If he repeats this list correctly, the sound intensity is reduced by another 5dB. If the patient has 2 lines out of 6 words, the sound intensity given in the previous stage gives the result of the patient’s speech receiving threshold.

Speech discrimination, also known as SDS (Speech Discrimination Score), is based on adding 25dB – 40dB on top of the result obtained at the threshold of receiving speech and repeating 25 monosyllabic word lists. The correct answers are multiplied by 4% and the resulting figure determines the patient’s speech discrimination level. This rate is around 90% for people who do not have any hearing problems.

  • The comfortable listening threshold, also known as the MCL (Most Comfortable Level), is the remaining listening level between the threshold for receiving the speech and the disturbing sound level.
  • Disturbing level, also known as UCL (Uncomfortable Level), is the name given to the point where the patient is disturbed by the intensity of the sound level.

SRT and UCL scores of the patients are high in hearing loss caused by conductive type. According to the speech audiometry test, the SRT value should be equal to 20dB, MCL value 40-60 dB, SDS value 90-100%, UCL value 100-120 dB in people who do not have any hearing problems.

In the tympanometry test, which measures the pressure of the middle ear, air pressure is applied to the outer ear canal to measure the mobility of the middle ear and eardrum. Information about the function of these structures is obtained by measuring the mobility of the middle ear and eardrum. Measurements are performed with a probe placed in the ear. It is an easy test that can be applied even to babies. While the tympanometry test is being performed, the eardrum should not be punctured.

Acoustic reflex tests
The response of the stapes muscle in the middle ear to acoustic stimuli is called the acoustic reflex. It gives information about the ways of hearing up to the level of the brain stem. The information obtained with the acoustic reflex hearing test is interpreted together with other findings and gives an idea about the location of the situation that causes hearing loss.

How to evaluate the results of the hearing test?

The results of the hearing test are evaluated by the audiometrist and ENT doctor. If there is a hearing loss and a condition that requires treatment, you should talk to your specialist again.

What are the degrees of hearing loss?

The amount of hearing loss in an individual is graded as mild, moderate, severe, or severe. If we show the levels of this:

Normal hearing:

You can hear sounds as low as 20 dBHL.

  • Mild hearing loss:

Hearing loss in your better ear is between 25 and 39 dBHL. You will have some difficulty following what is spoken in noisy environments.

  • Moderate hearing loss:

Hearing loss in your better ear is between 40 – 69 dBHL. Without a hearing aid, you will find it difficult to follow what is spoken.

  • Severe hearing loss:

Hearing loss in your better ear is between 70 and 89 dBHL. Powerful hearing aids or implants are required.

  • Severe hearing loss:

Hearing loss in your better ear starts at 90 dBHL. You need more lip reading and/or sign language or the use of implants.



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