Comprehensive Hearing Test

This test measures your hearing. An audiologist will place earphones in your ears and ask you to respond to different sounds and words.

This test measures your hearing. An audiologist will place earphones in your ears and ask you to respond to different sounds and words.

Comprehensive hearing and speech testing measures your hearing. To perform this test, an audiologist places earphones in your ears and asks you to respond to different sounds and words. The sounds and words have different pitches and intensities.

  • The air threshold is the lowest tone intensity you can hear 50 percent of the time. It is recorded for different frequencies on each ear.
  • Bone thresholds are obtained in a similar manner. However, instead of conducting the tones through earphones, a bone oscillator is placed on your mastoid bone or forehead to conduct the sound.
  • The air and bone thresholds are compared to differentiate between different types of hearing losses.

Speech testing is also done with earphones in place. During this test, you are asked to repeat certain two syllable words. The softest level you can correctly repeat 50 percent of the words you hear is called your speech reception threshold.

  • The speech reception threshold is recorded for each ear.
  • The word discrimination score is the percentage of words you can repeat correctly at an intensity level above your speech reception threshold. This is also measured for each ear.

Comprehensive hearing tests are typically given by an audiologist. An audiogram is a graph showing the results of hearing tests.

  • The curves on an audiogram can help the audiologist determine the details of a person's hearing loss. This includes the type, degree and pattern of hearing loss.
  • If you have a blockage in your ear, such as wax or fluid, a method called pure tone bone conduction testing may be used. With this test, a small vibrator is placed behind the ear or on the forehead. The signal reaches the inner ear through gentle vibrations of the skull. This type of testing just measures the response of the inner ear.

If you are having trouble with your hearing, contact your healthcare provider. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and how long you have had them.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations).
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.
  • If your healthcare provider prescribes a medication for you, ask for a generic version. If your doctor thinks that a generic version is not right for you, ask for a medication on the lowest available tier of your Prescription Drug List (PDL).

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.

  • What type of hearing loss do I have? What are my treatment options?
  • Is my hearing loss caused by a problem that can be treated with surgery?
  • How serious is my hearing loss? How long will it take my hearing to improve?
  • What tests are you recommending? What is the reason for those tests? Will the test results change my treatment plan?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?


Also known as:

Comprehensive Hearing Test
Ear Infection
Loss of Hearing
Cannot Hear
Hearing Problems
Hearing Loss
Hearing Lost
Unable to Hear
Pure tones
Tests of Hearing
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