Polo Park Hearing Centre provides a full range of hearing testing and evaluations for both individuals and organizations. Our clients include 911, Winnipeg City Police and the RCMP.
When we think of a hearing test most of us expect to listen to a series of tones and indicate we hear them. This is the basic hearing test you might remember from grade school. In actuality, that hearing test is only a specific part of “hearing evaluation” that we perform to diagnose your hearing loss. A hearing evaluation is made up of several parts. Each part is designed to test or diagnose specific components of your hearing.
Pure Tone Hearing Tests
There are essentially two types of pure tone hearing tests: air conduction and bone conduction. Each hearing test type is named after the method you receive the sounds by.
Air Conduction Hearing Test
An air conduction pure tone hearing test is the most common form of testing for hearing loss. Sounds made up different tones (frequencies) and intensities are sent from a test machine to a set of headphones worn by the person being tested. The patient then indicates which sounds they can hear. This test helps find the quietest sound you can hear at different the different frequencies and is charted on what is known as an audiogram. This hearing test also helps differentiate between one-sided hearing loss and bilateral hearing loss.
Bone Conduction Hearing Test
Audiologists will use this type of hearing test when something, such as ear wax or fluid build up is blocking your outer or middle ear and preventing sound waves from reaching your inner ear.
For this test, the audiologist will put a small electronic device behind your ear. When the test sounds are sent to this device it transforms wound waves to gentle vibrations. These vibrations go to the inner ear (cochlea) and skips the outer and middle ear that are blocked. You may have seen some music devices, Bluetooth cell phone mics, or even sound playing sunglasses that use the same technology. By isolating and testing your inner ear an audiologist can tell how well you hear and if there is indeed a problem in the outer or middle ear.
Other Types of Hearing Tests
There are a variety of reasons for hearing loss and there is a test for identifying each one. The hearing test method used depends in part on the age of the individual and several other factors.
- Pure-Tone Testing (as above)
- Speech Testing
- Tests of the Middle Ear
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)
As we have suggested, the most common hearing test method is the pure-tone hearing testing we discussed above. Beside being fairly easy to perform, this hearing test can differentiate between one-sided versus two-sided (bilateral) hearing loss.