Hearing Testing

A comprehensive evaluation by an audiologist is needed to identify the cause of hearing loss and arrive at the appropriate treatment. Our experts begin by taking a complete history, visually inspecting the ear canal, and performing tests that measure how well you can hear soft tones and words. Adult patients are also asked to provide a self-assessment of their hearing ability (something young children obviously cannot do). We then test your ability to understand speech, both in silence and with background noise. We offer a comprehensive array of tests, prescribed based on each patient’s hearing issues:

Audiogram

A device called an audiometer emits various frequencies of sound. As you listen and respond to what you hear–or don’t hear–, the test produces data which is charted on a graph called an audiogram. This allows the audiologist to measure your ability to hear and recognize different speech sounds.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (child hearing test, 0–2 years)

Children listen to speakers placed on either side of the room. When they respond by looking or pointing at the source of the sound, they are “rewarded” through visual reinforcement such as a flashing light.

Play Audiometry (child hearing test, 3–5 years)

Through earphones or a loudspeaker, children listen to a variety of volumes and pitches of sound. To make the test feel like play, they are asked to drop a block into a bucket every time they hear a sound. Receptive speech, the ability to understand and comprehend spoken language, can also be tested with the audiologist saying something and having a child point to a corresponding image in a picture book.

Acoustic Reflex Testing

This test is used to evaluate the functionality between your middle ear and lower brainstem. A small probe is inserted into your ear. The probe emits a succession of loud, sudden noises to evaluate how the muscles in your middle ear react to noise.

Otoacoustic Emission (OAE) Testing

The OAE test is used to find out how well the inner ear, or cochlea, works. This test is often part of hearing screening in newborns. Specialized hair cells in the inner ear vibrate in response to sound. A tiny, highly sensitive microphone picks up the movement of these hair cells. This helps the audiologist detect hearing problems, estimate hearing sensitivity, and differentiate between the sensory and neural issues relevant to hearing loss.

Otoscopic Evaluation

Using a handheld device called an otoscope, the physician or audiologist examines your ear for signs of inflammation due to infection, ear wax buildup, or other issues that could contribute to your symptoms.

Tympanometry

This easy, painless test allows your audiologist to examine your middle ear with small probe placed inside the ear. The probe emits a tone and exerts a varying the amount of air pressure on your ear. The test is used to identify any dysfunction in mobility in your eardrum, middle ear, and/or eustachian tube.

Videonystagmography (VNG)

VNG is used to in investigate whether your dizziness and balance problems are related to disorders of the vestibular system or to the part of the brain that controls balance. During VNG, you wear infrared goggles while the audiologist performs a battery of tests to monitor your eye movement in response a variety of stimuli.