A hearing test is different from a screening. A family doctor may conduct a basic screening in which simple steps are taken to determine if there could be a risk of some loss. These initial screenings may not pick up mild instances of loss and they may even yield a false positive result. For a more thorough and complete assessment, individuals should seek out a specialist. These professionals will work closely with you to determine if there is a problem and, if there is, what can be done to improve your condition significantly.

What to Expect

If this is the first hearing test you are taking, it is important to relax. In most cases, there is very little that you will need to do in order to provide the doctor with the information necessary to determine if there is a problem. However, this will need to be an interactive process in that there is no way to know the amount of any problem by just looking at the ear or eardrum. Rather, your doctor will need to perform several tests on you to determine what is occurring.

Thorough testing will include various types of tests. The initial step is to put headphones on you and put you in a quiet room. You will then be told to raise your hand whenever you hear a sound from the headphones. In general, this will test both the levels of sound you can hear as well as the frequencies you can hear. Frequencies are the tones of sound. Testing both in this manner is effective, though tests that are more intensive may be a good option for many people.

Sometimes, it is important to understand a person's lack of ability to hear based on what he or she experiences in various scenarios. For example, background noise often contributes to the lack of ability to hear. For this reason, you may need to take the same type of test when there is background noise or other conversations happening. You may be asked to provide information about how well you hear in various situations through your life, such as in restaurants or when holding a conversation with family and friends.

Ultimately, a thorough hearing test needs to evaluate your ability to hear in various circumstances. The goal is to determine if there is loss. Then, the secondary goal is to determine how severe the loss is. With this information, it is possible to make a decision about whether or not any type of treatment is necessary to improve your ability to hear. In some people, this entire process takes just a few minutes but can yield very important information.