Audiometry: Basics, Procedure, Types, Risks, and Results

Audiometry is a diagnostic test used to evaluate a person's hearing ability and to detect any hearing loss. It is used to detect problems related to the outer ear, inner ear, and hearing nerve. Audiometry is an essential component of hearing healthcare and is necessary for accurate diagnosis.

Preparation for an Audiometry Test

No special preparation is typically required for an audiometry test. However, your doctor may ask you to remove any hearing aids or other hearing aids from your ears prior to the test. You will also be asked to provide a medical history, including any medications you are taking and a history of noise exposure.

What is the Procedure for an Audiometry Test?

An audiometry test involves measuring a person's hearing threshold. The test is performed in a soundproof room using specialized headphones. The person taking the test is asked to put the headphones on and then signal when or if they hear a sound. The sound can be either beeps, tones, or words. The intensity of the sound, or the volume, is gradually increased until the person taking the test is able to hear it. The lowest intensity of sound that the person can hear is called the threshold. The results are then recorded on an audiogram, which is a graph that shows the hearing thresholds of both ears.

Types of Audiometry Tests

There are two main types of audiometry tests: pure-tone and speech audiometry. A pure-tone test is used to measure how well a person can detect low-, medium-, and high-frequency tones. During the test, the person taking the test is asked to use a hand-held device to indicate whether or not they hear the sound. A speech audiometry test is used to measure how well a person can hear and understand words. During the test, the person is asked to repeat words that they hear.

Risks of an Audiometry Test

An audiometry test is typically safe and is not associated with any significant risks. However, it is possible that the person taking the test may experience discomfort due to wearing the headphones for an extended period of time.

Why is an Audiometry Test Done?

An audiometry test is done to detect any hearing loss or problems with the ears that may be affecting a person's hearing. It is used to diagnose hearing conditions such as sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, auditory neuropathy, and tinnitus. Audiometry tests are also used to assess a person's hearing before they receive hearing aids.

When is an Audiometry Test Done?

An audiometry test should be done whenever a person experiences any symptoms of hearing loss or has any risk factors for hearing loss. Symptoms of hearing loss may include difficulty understanding conversation in noisy environments, difficulty hearing high-pitched or low-pitched tones, tinnitus, and dizziness. Risk factors for hearing loss include occupational noise exposure, prolonged recreational noise exposure, family history of hearing loss, and certain medications.

Results of an Audiometry Test

The results of an audiometry test are recorded on an audiogram, which is a graph showing the hearing thresholds for each ear. A normal hearing threshold should be between -10 dB and -25 dB. A hearing threshold of 25 dB or greater indicates a hearing loss.