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Types of Tests Used to Evaluate Hearing in Children and Adults
Did you know that there are different tests for young children and adults? Not all hearing tests are alike, and they each have their way to measure how well the ears and brain respond to sound. Each hearing test that is performed is based on the patient’s situation, as all of these tests have their forms of measurement. Each of these tests is fairly fast, easy to understand and completely painless as well. Whether you’re an adult who is looking into a hearing loss test or you believe that your child may need one, here are some of the most common hearing tests for children and adults.
Hearing Loss Tests for Children
When it comes to tests for children, it mostly depends on the symptoms that the child has, but also their age. Infants and children under three are tested with probes or sensors that can measure hearing. While children over the age of three will be given sound tests that will check on the responsiveness of the child. This can include the response of tones, volumes, pitches and even sounds in loud environments. When it comes to small children, the three main tests are:
The Otoacoustic Emissions Test
The otoacoustic emissions test (OAE) is when an audiologist places a probe within the child’s ear canal. This looks very identical to an earphone. This will record and measure the responsiveness of the child’s inner ears. This will help in determining whether or not there is hearing loss.
The Auditory Brainstem (ABR) Test
While the ABR test is used to check for any sensorineural hearing loss from the young child. This will measure how and if the brain will respond to sound. The audiologist will put an electrode on the scalp, this will be placed behind each ear while an earphone will be placed inside the ear. There will be a series of tones and clucks that will go through the earphones. This will then let the electrode measure how the child’s brain is responding to the sounds. Both of these tests are completely safe and painless for the child.
Hearing Tests for Older Children and Adults
While the OAE and the ABR tests are better suited for younger children, for adults and older children, several tests can be taken. These are more effective as the patient will be able to engage with the audiologist to help the audiologist out during the test, such as stating what can be heard. Some of the most common hearing loss tests for children and adults are:
One of the very tests that a patient may receive when visiting an audiologist would be the pure-tone test. This is typically given after it’s been established that the patient is most likely to have some level of hearing loss. The pure-tone test is designed to establish what sort of frequencies that the patient can hear.
This test is not invasive, and nothing is put inside of the ear. The patient will start by sitting in a quiet room and wearing noise-canceling headphones. An audiologist will then play a series of different frequencies. The patient will then push a button or raise their hand whether they can hear the sound or not.
Bone Conduction Test
The bone conduction test is usually paired up with the pure-tone test. Both tests are very similar, as they both help out in determining the level of hearing loss that a patient may have. What makes the bone conduction test different compared to the other is due to it using vibrations rather than only measuring sound. This is conducted by the audiologist placing a conductor behind your ear. This will then send vibrations through the bones and then directly into the inner ear. The results of the bone conduction test will be compared to the results of the pure-tone testing.
Similar to pure-tone tests, however, the patient will need to try to separate speech from background noise. This will determine the capability of understanding speech in loud environments. A common effect of hearing loss is the struggle to separate speech from other noises in a heavy distraction-filled environment, which is why speech testing is needed.
The tympanometry test will look to see how the middle ear functions. This is often one of the very first tests that are given to a patient. This will involve measuring the eardrum and how the eardrum reacts when air pressure is being introduced. This will allow the audiologist to determine any abnormalities that the patient may have.
Hearing loss is common, and there are ways to determine this so treatment with an audiologist can begin. To learn more about Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, call us today at 920-969-1768