Hearing Tests: Why Are They Important, and What Can Patients Expect?

Periodic hearing tests are the best way to screen for and identify hearing loss and other aural problems. By examining a patient’s ears and interpreting their ability to respond to different tones and speech signals, audiologists can complete an audiogram, which illustrates that patient’s hearing threshold. Here’s a look at why these hearing tests are so important, and what patients can expect when they go in for a test.

The Importance of Hearing Tests

A hearing professional speaking to a patient

Hearing tests are essential to understanding one’s hearing ability and addressing any limitations or problems that may exist. Everyone should have a baseline hearing test. Undergoing periodic hearing tests is especially important for people who work in loud settings or frequently inhabit noisy environments, such as concert halls, construction sites, factories and plants, and aerospace sites. While signs of hearing loss or other problems may not always be obvious, a hearing test from an experienced audiologist can detect subtle issues that may need to be treated.

What Do Hearing Tests Measure?

Hearing tests check a patient’s ability to hear various volumes, pitches, and speech patterns. They primarily determine whether hearing loss exists, either as the result of sensorineural or conductive reasons, or both. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the inner ear or the nerve that allows a person to hear; such problems can either be present from birth or develop later in life. Conductive hearing loss is caused by problems in the outer or middle ear, such as some kind of blockage from fluid or earwax, a hole in the eardrum, or problems with the middle ear bones, called the ossicles. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated by an ear physician.

What Patients Can Expect

Hearing tests are quick, simple, and painless. They begin with an audiologist using a special light to examine the ear canals and eardrums to check for visible blockages and damage. A patient then will wear headphones or ear inserts to listen and respond to sounds at various pitches and volumes, as well as speech patterns. Results will be analyzed and used to determine whether further tests or treatments will be needed.

Having regular hearing tests from an experienced audiologist is a critical way to identify, assess, and, if needed, treat hearing loss and other aural problems. At Associated Hearing Professionals, our team provides comprehensive hearing tests and services to the St. Louis, MO metro area, as well as screenings, hearing aid fittings, and repairs. Fill out our online form or call 314-725-2686 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.