A diagnostic hearing evaluation is the first step in determining your hearing capability. The evaluation is done to determine if a hearing loss is present and, if so, to detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. It also may provide insight into the cause of the hearing loss, as well as provide guidance in making appropriate treatment recommendations or referrals to other professionals.
The diagnostic hearing evaluation will be performed in a sound treated room using equipment called an audiometer.
At a minimum, a diagnostic audiologic evaluation includes pure-tone testing, bone conduction testing and speech testing.
Pure-tone and bone conduction testing
Pure-tone testing determines the quietest tones that a person can hear at different frequencies, both low and high. Bone conduction testing is similar to pure-tone, however, a different type of headset is used to provide the audiologist with different information. A bone conduction test will help the audiologist determine whether the loss is conductive in nature or sensorineural.
A speech reception threshold (SRT) test is used to confirm the results of a pure-tone test. This test determines the lowest level of sound the patient can clearly identify words or speech. Word Recognition testing is a measure of how clearly a person can hear and understand amplified speech.
The provider may also perform tympanometry (test of the middle ear) to determine the health of the ear canal and the middle ear.