Initial Hearing Evaluation
A baseline assessment of hearing ability and middle ear status is your likely first step for evaluating a hearing problem. Several tests may be conducted, including:
- Pure tone air and bone conduction testing, to identify the faintest tones that can be heard at different pitches (frequencies), from low to high
- Speech reception and word identification tests, to determine the softest level at which a patient can begin to recognize speech
- Tympanometry, to test to assess movement of the eardrum
- Acoustic reflex testing, to measure the contraction of a tiny ear muscle that responds when loud sounds occur
If hearing loss is present, the tests help physicians understand the type and level of loss. Whether you need more testing, a referral for medical treatment or a referral for amplification/hearing aids, the tests will help determine the appropriate next steps for you. Plan to spend about 30 minutes to complete the testing. No preparation is required and there are no special requirements after testing.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing for Ringing in the Ear
An otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test is a computerized hearing screening test for assessing the function of the inner ear structures if you have ringing in your ears (tinnitus). It is also used to monitor changes caused by ototoxicity (when medications or drugs impact hearing), and is often the test used to assess newborn hearing ability.
During the OAE test, sound is sent into the ear through a small earplug. The nerves of the inner ear move in response to a sound and produce a sound that travels back to the small earplug and is measured. The response indicates how your inner ear is functioning in response to sound.