Hearing is usually assessed under headphones, with tones presented at a range of frequencies to each ear individually. The client responds by pressing the button when they hear a sound, even if it is extremely soft. The Audiologist records the softest sound that is consistently responded to at each frequency. These are known as the “hearing thresholds”. Hearing thresholds are measured at a range of frequencies that make up speech sounds.
When a client has hearing difficulties, speech testing is also performed. This may include listening to single words under headphones, or listening to sentences while noise is playing simultaneously. This enables the audiologist to pinpoint the areas of hearing difficulty for the client. It also provides information as to what may be the best hearing solution for them.
Further testing of the middle ear or acoustic pathways will also be performed be performed as required. The most common of these is an impedance measure, and involves placing an ear plug in the ear, administering tones and changing the middle ear pressure. It is a quick and comfortable test.