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Important Hearing Test Terms
If you think your child may have hearing loss, damage, or another auditory problem, visit a doctor. In most cases, problems with hearing are identified in young children or the elderly. Some hearing tests, like the ones below, allow doctors to check for a problem without needing verbal confirmation from the patient.
Behavioral Audiometry - Behavioral audiometry is a basic type of hearing test, which requires children to audibly confirm when they hear noises. In infants, their physical response to audio stimuli is carefully assessed.
Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions - Evoked otoacoustic emissions are used to aid specialists trying to detect a hearing problem in an infant. For this test, a microphone is used to identify the ear's normal responses to sounds. A baby can sleep through this procedure.
Brainstem Testing - This type of hearing test is only conducted on the very young, or patients who cannot effectively communicate. To conduct the test, electrodes are attached to the ear lobes, forehead, and scalp to record the brain's response to noise. This test, like evoked otoacoustic emissions testing, is very effective because it does not require the aid of the patient to make an diagnosis.
Impedance Audiometry - This exam illuminates the current functioning of the middle ear. It does not detect if a person can hear or not, but can indicate if there is a problem.
Play Audiometry - When a specialist conducts play audiometry, he asks young children to shake or grab a specific toy when they hear a sound. This test is often administered to toddlers to detect hearing loss or damage.
There are a variety of hearing methods available to test a person’s hearing capabilities. These can range from simple auditory tests like those in a school nurse’s office, to the more sophisticated equipment in a specialist’s office. The severity of hearing disorders runs the spectrum with some people are completely deaf and need cochlear implants, while others have suffered slight hearing loss over time and require hearing aids.
Auditory tests, administered by qualified professionals, can assess the type and severity of disorder. These tests measure the ability of sound to reach the area of the brain responsible for hearing. All sounds we hear derive from vibrations, which then put out sound waves at various frequency rates and amplitudes. This will determine the pitch and volume. Nerve impulses in the eardrum will then send them to the brain.
You may remember undergoing auditory exams in school as a young child each year. You don head phones, listen for a series of tones, and indicate when you experience the tones by raising your hand. The number of tones you hear determines if you have experienced hearing loss, may be deaf in just one canal, or have a slight impairment. In many cases, hearing aids can provide a solution. These devices are worn to amplify sound, but they’re not cheap. Many are also covered by insurance.
People can avoid hearing loss over time by donning hearing aid protection, such as when attending a loud concert, or when exposed to loud noises regularly, like at a construction site. You can purchase products such as audio-CD hearing tests online to try at home. Other devices such as decibel meters and digital sound level meters can test various components of impairment. Have your ears checked annually at a clinic, medical center, or a specialist’s office.