The Seven Types of Hearing Tests

hearing tests types

After having to listen to your family members complain about how loud the television is for what feels like the millionth time, you have finally decided to seek help. The first thing your Green Valley audiologist will do is order a series of hearing tests. This will confirm your type and degree of hearing loss.


These tests are completely safe and painless. They are performed in a soundproof booth often with the use of specially designed headphones. The results of these tests are plotted on an audiogram, which is a visual representation of your degree of hearing loss.


Types of Hearing Tests

Pure Tone Testing

This type of test, also known as pure tone audiometry, uses air conduction to measure your ability to hear sounds at various pitches and volumes. You will be asked to wear headphones and sit in a specially designed booth. A series of sounds will be broadcast through the headphones. Every time you hear a tone you will be instructed to raise your hand or press a button. The results will then be charted on an audiogram.


Bone Conduction Testing

This is another type of pure-tone test that measures your inner ear’s response to sound. A conductor will be placed behind your ear; it will send tiny vibrations through the bone directly to the inner ear. This is different than the traditional version, which uses air to send audible sounds. If the results of this test are different than the pure-tone audiometry, your Green Valley audiologist can use this information to determine your type of hearing loss.


Speech Testing

This type of testing is used to measure your speech reception threshold (SRT), or the faintest speech you can understand 50 percent of the time. It is administered in either a quiet or noisy environment and measures your ability to separate speech from background noise.



This test measures the movement of your eardrum in response to air pressure. It can determine if there is a buildup of fluid, wax buildup, eardrum perforations or tumors.


Acoustic Reflex Testing

This test measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear and is used to determine the location of your hearing problem (the ossicles, cochlea, auditory nerve, etc.) as well as the type of hearing loss.


Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This type of testing is used to determine whether a specific type of hearing loss—sensorineural—exists. It is also frequently used to screen newborns for hearing problems. In an ABR test, electrodes are attached to your head, scalp or earlobes, and you are given headphones to wear. Your brainwave activity is measured in response to sounds of varying intensities.


Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)

OAEs are sounds generated by the vibrations of the hair cells in the cochlea of your inner ear. This type of testing uses a tiny probe fitted with a microphone and speaker to stimulate the cochlea and measure its response. Individuals with normal hearing will produce emissions; when hearing loss exceeds 25-30 decibels, no sound will be produced. This test helps determine whether there is a blockage in the ear canal, excess fluid in the middle ear or damage to the hair cells of the cochlea. OAE testing is often included in newborn hearing screening programs.


Any combinations of these tests may be ordered by your audiologist. Once they are complete, your Green Valley audiologist will be able to create an individualized treatment plan. Contact our office to schedule a hearing test today.

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Arizona Hearing Specialists
Arizona Hearing Specialists