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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

What To Expect During A Hearing And Balance Test From An Audiologist

What To Expect During A Hearing And Balance Test From An Audiologist

Many people do not know what to expect from a hearing and balance test performed by an audiologist. From a young age, we have had hearing screenings which are very quick tests not usually conducted by an audiologist. Aside from these screenings, many of us have not had any other hearing evaluation and an even smaller group has had balance evaluations.

Here at Hearing & Balance Doctors, we understand that many of our clients do not know what to expect when they come in for these evaluations. To help put you at ease, we want to briefly cover each hearing and balance test which you may encounter when you come in to visit our audiologists.

Hearing Evaluation Tests Conducted By Our Audiologists

To have a full evaluation of your hearing, you should work with one of our audiologists. This evaluation covers a series of tests.

Speech testing – As your speech is highly influenced by your hearing, conducting a speech test is a vital part of a hearing evaluation. When conducting a speech test, our audiologists will have you wear headphones then speak words for you to repeat.

Pure-tone testing – This is the test most commonly performed at hearing screenings. You will wear headphones and every time you hear a tone, you will press a button.

Middle ear tests – There are usually 3 parts to a middle ear test.

  • The tympanometry test evaluates your eardrum. A probe is inserted into your ear and puffs air at your eardrum. It will help our audiologists assess how flexible your eardrum is, if there is too much wax, whether you have fluid buildup and more.
  • With a static acoustic impedance, our audiologists can assess how much air is in your ear canal. It looks for similar things as the tympanometry test but does it in a different manner so that no potential problem escapes.
  • An acoustic reflex measure checks on the reflex of a small muscle located in the middle ear. A small probe will be inserted into your ear and will create a sound. It will measure how the muscle reacts to the sound.

Otoacoustic emissions – After inserting a probe into your ear, our audiologists will assess your inner ear’s ability to hear. A series of hums and clicks will be emitted to check how the hairs in your inner ear respond. You will not need to do anything during this test except to sit quietly.

Auditory brainstem response – Another inner ear test, the auditory brainstem response monitors how your brain is processing sound. After you lie down, electrodes are applied to your head to monitor brainwaves. Our audiologists will have you wear headphones which will emit sounds then record the brainwave feedback.

You may not need to undergo all these tests. However, once completed, our audiologists will be able to tell you:

  • Whether you are experiencing hearing loss
  • What kind of hearing loss you have
  • The severity of your hearing loss
  • Potential causes of your hearing loss
  • What hearing loss treatments are available to you

What Tests Our Audiologist Use For Balance Evaluation

Balance evaluations can be slightly uncomfortable for those undergoing them. Our audiologists do their best to ease that discomfort, but as balance issues can cause nausea, headaches, and more, these tests may induce some of the uncomfortable problems related to balance issues.

Eye movement test – You will sit in the dark and follow lights in the room, rotating on a chair to follow these lights. This test will help our audiologists assess whether your eyes can track normally and your balance is not affected by the chair’s rotations.

Cortical evoked response audiometry – Monitoring your brain’s responses, our audiologists will play a series of sounds while having you read a book.

Posturography – While standing on a platform, you will occasionally be asked to have your eyes open and closed as the platform tilts. A harness will keep you secure as the platform tilts. People who are not struggling with balance issues should be able to adjust to the tilting of the platform.

Caloric test – One of the more uncomfortable tests, you will lie down while wearing goggles which record eye movement. Water will be piped into your ear canal to trigger dizziness. The dizziness should fade within 2 minutes.

Electrocochleography – Checking on the auditory nerve and cochlea, you will have a needle probe inserted through your eardrum then listen to a loud sound.

Roll test – Also known as the Dix Hallpike test, you will be asked to move your head quickly. This may be moving from a sitting position to a laying down position or moving your head quickly from side-to-side.

Video head impulse test – Our audiologists will shift your head quickly from side-to-side, then up and down as you sit and look at a target point.

You may not need to undergo all these tests. Depending on your responses to the tests, our audiologists will assess how many you need so they can determine if you are dealing with a balance problem.

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