How Hearing Tests Work

Whether you suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, or some other auditory ailment, your treatment will likely begin with a hearing test. Brief, comfortable, inexpensive, and straightforward, hearing tests provide your audiologist with valuable information about your auditory health. Comprehensive hearing examinations last 30 to 45 minutes for most adults, depending on the tests required. To take the first step toward improving your quality of life, schedule your first hearing test today.

So What Happens During a Hearing Test?

When you arrive at Sound Relief Hearing Center for your hearing test, our patient care coordinator will ask you to fill out several forms. Please be ready to provide your personal information and medical history and to verify your health insurance coverage. With your permission, we can then check to see if your insurance covers hearing loss benefits. We accept most insurance carriers, and your initial consultation is complimentary.

Review of Hearing Health

To begin your hearing test, your audiologist will review your personal information and health history. He or she will ask questions designed to learn more about your hearing concerns. For example, you may be asked about your symptoms, your history of noise exposure, your family’s history of hearing loss, and the specific types of environments in which you experience difficulty hearing. Throughout the hearing test, feel free to ask questions of your audiologist as well.

Physical Examination of the Ears

Once the doctor understands your specific situation, he or she will conduct a physical examination of your ears by looking into them with an otoscope. Using this instrument, your audiologist can view your ear drum and look for issues like earwax obstructing the ear canal and infections of the middle ear. All of our audiologists use a video otoscope, which allows you to see inside your ears as well.

audiologist conducting a hearing test

Pure-Tone Test

To test your hearing health, your audiologist will begin by conducting a pure-tone test. Administered in a soundproof booth, the pure-tone test determines the exact point, or “threshold,” at which you can hear various frequencies of sounds. Your doctor will place headphones over your ears, and the headphones will connect to an audiometer: a machine used to evaluate hearing acuity. The audiometer will transmit a series of tones at a variety of volumes into your ears. When you hear a sound, you will be asked to press a button – it’s as simple as that! 

Speech Testing

Next, your audiologist will conduct speech testing. You will listen to a series of one- and two-syllable words at different volumes and then be asked to repeat them. This test hits two birds with one stone; not only will it determine the level at which you can detect speech, but it will also determine how well you understand speech. Depending on your specific situation, your audiologist may also wish to conduct a speech-in-noise test. This additional examination will establish how well you hear and comprehend sentences in a noisy environment.


Your audiologist will record the results of your hearing tests on a form called an audiogram, which contains graphics to illustrate the type, pattern, and degree of your hearing loss. Together, you and your audiologist will review the information in detail. The audiogram will reflect your hearing loss in frequencies and decibels, and it will reveal the percentage of normal conversational speech that you are capable of hearing. Your audiologist will make connections between the audiogram and your concerns about your hearing, so that you can begin exploring treatment options.

When you leave the appointment, your newfound knowledge of your hearing health should lead to newfound hope for the future. Using the latest developments in auditory research, state-of-the-art technology, and years of education and experience, our audiologists will find an effective treatment that works for you.

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