What tests should be done to check my hearing?

During the audiological check-up, as part of which the hearing test is performed, the specialist assesses the anatomical and functional function of the ear

He/she does this through two types of tests

  • Subjective: the patient’s response to a given stimulus is assessed;
  • Objective (instrumental): a machine is used to measure the organ’s reaction to a stimulus.

Audiometric examination

The most common hearing test is the audiometric test (subjective), which aims to determine the threshold in decibels at which the patient is able to perceive sound.

The test is performed in a soundproof audiometric booth to assess

  • tonal audiometry, where particular sounds are played to assess hearing quantitatively;
  • speech audiometry, where words or phrases are played to assess the degree of comprehension of the human voice and to study hearing function also from a qualitative point of view.

Impedenzometric hearing examination

Impedenzometry is an instrumental test for studying the middle ear that analyses the mobility of the eardrum, ossicular chain and Eustachian tube.

It is not a painful test and is performed by inserting a probe into the ear canal that produces sounds of different frequencies and intensities to assess the proper functioning of the eardrum-ossicular system and the functionality of the stapedium muscle.

It is an objective test that does not require the patient’s cooperation and can also be performed on children from 12 months onwards.

Hearing test: acoustic evoked potentials

The examination of acoustic evoked potentials provides important information for the localisation of a sensorineural hearing loss that could be due to diseases of the labyrinth, acoustic nerve or nerve centres.

The patient is asked to lie still in a relaxed state for a few minutes in the dark or semi-darkness.

Electrodes are then applied to his or her earlobe and forehead; special sounds are then sent through headphones.

A computer records the electrical responses that the sounds produce as they pass through the inner ear and travel along the auditory nerve to reach the auditory centres in the brain.

Ever had a hearing check-up?

It usually takes 7 years before a person with a hearing problem takes action to seek a solution.

It is important to have regular hearing check-ups because many common causes of hearing loss can be prevented.

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