The signs of hearing loss can be caused by a myriad of factors. The first step to finding the right hearing solution for each client is by performing hearing tests in order to pinpoint the cause of the hearing loss, and test whether the different parts of the ear are working as they should be.
One such way to check for hearing loss is called the Pure Tone Audiometry test. Deemed as the gold standard in audiological testing, it’s the first step towards screening for hearing loss for clients coming in with concerns about declining hearing. These can range from difficulties in understanding and hearing conversations, inability to hear high pitched tones such as phones ringing or doorbell sounds, or having to increasingly rely on louder volume settings on the radio or the television. Ultimately, it’s a necessary test to see what might be causing these symptoms.
The pure-tone audiogram, or PTA, produces data that establishes a client’s hearing thresholds, which would entail the softest sounds that the client hears in different frequencies, as well as the type of hearing loss; whether it’s conductive or sensorineural.
So, what can you expect from a Pure Tone Audiometry test?
Pure-tone audiometry checks for hearing thresholds, and as such needs to be performed in a soundproof booth. The audiologist is required to test the equipment, as well as the calibration of the stimuli used as according to standard, and clients are encouraged to have a rest period of at least 16 hours after last exposure to significant noise in order to produce the best audiometric test results.
The audiologist performs a Pure Tone Audiometry test by getting clients to listen to a number of pure tones using headphones or earplugs, with a machine called an audiometer. The audiometer is used to produce sounds at a range of volumes and frequencies, or pitches, and the client is required to press a button or raise their hand when they hear these sounds through their headphones. This type of testing measures thresholds for tonal stimuli at a range of frequencies, from 0.125kHz to 8 kHz.
For PTA tests, each ear is tested individually, as the pure tone test is done to check the client’s responses to pure-tone stimulation. The test results are depicted in a graph or an audiogram, which shows a plot of all hearing threshold values for all tested frequencies. If there is conductive hearing loss, air conduction thresholds will show a downward curve of up to 50db HL. If there is sensorineural hearing loss, both air conduction and bone conduction curves shift down. This then provides the audiologist with a measurement client’s hearing threshold with which to base their hearing intervention and strategies off of.
Other Tests To Assess Hearing
Aside from a Pure Tone Audiometry test, tests such as bone conduction testing, speech testing, tympanometry, acoustic reflex testing, auditory brainstem response, and otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) can be conducted to find out the cause of hearing loss and provide the client with a better understanding of which particular parts of the ear are responsible for the hearing loss, as well as the hearing interventions available to them.
If you’re finding that your hearing might be declining, or you have concerns about your hearing in your day-to-day life, it’s a good idea to consult with the experienced audiologists at Art of Hearing. These qualified professionals are knowledgeable and experienced in all things hearing, and can conduct these tests to help pinpoint the cause of hearing loss, as well as provide you with comprehensive advice about what hearing solutions are available for you.
If you’re looking for hearing aids in Perth or advice on your current hearing, the friendly team at Art of Hearing will get you started on your journey to better hearing today!