A hearing test is usually conducted in a small, quiet and specially made sound-treated room. It would be majorly in a two-room set-up where the Audiologist will sit on one side and the patient on the other. There will be a small window between the two rooms so that the Audiologist can see your behavioural response to the sound being presented through the Audiometer.
Once you enter the room, you will be seated and will be given a pair of headphones to wear. As an alternative, sometimes you might be given two earplugs with wire attached to them which is connected to the Audiometer. In the case of assessment for children and infants, you may also find speakers placed at specific positions. Adult patients who wear hearing aids will also be tested using speakers to see the gain that they are receiving from the hearing aids.
There are mainly three tests which are done as a part of the modern hearing testing procedure. They are as follows:
Pure tone audiometry
In this test, sounds will be presented via the headphones or the connected earplugs and the patient has to respond to it by either raising the finger or pressing a button given to them. Sounds will be of different volumes, pitches and frequencies. Before the testing begins, you will be instructed on what you have to do. Once the instruction is done, the testing begins. Testing will be done for each ear separately and the starting ear will be determined based on the complaints that you report. The tones presented will be of different volumes and hence you will have to concentrate on the sound being presented and respond to it by pressing on the patient response button. This test will show you at what volume you can hear each kind of sound presented to you.
In this part of the test, instead of using tones and noises, the clinician will either speak to you using a microphone or present recorded speech samples for you to listen to. It will determine the softest level at which you can hear the speech sound which is presented to you. The test involves you repeating the words and phrases that are presented to you. The test will also determine the most comfortable level at which you can listen to a conversation and also the loudest level till which you can bear someone speaking to you.
This test measures the functionality of your ear drum and also looks for any signs of infection in your ear. In this test, instead of a headphone, a soft earplug is used. This will generate pressure change within the ear and will also deliver a sound. This test will determine how good the eardrum moves with respect to the sound being presented and how well the middle ear muscles work in response to these sounds.
In addition to these, there are other tests which are done according to the complaint that you report. They include Oto Acoustic Emission testing which checks for the inner ear functioning and Auditory Brainstem Response Audiometry which checks for the functioning of your hearing nerve.