Hearing Tests / Diagnostic Audiometry

Audiometric testing, or more simply hearing testing, evaluates hearing sensitivity between the frequencies of 250-8000 Hz, all of which are necessary for both hearing and understanding speech. Audiometric testing is individualized and may be conducted in various ways depending on the age of the patient. Typically, air conduction audiometry is completed in addition to bone conduction audiometry in order to determine the type and severity of the hearing loss. Test results will allow the audiologist to diagnose conductive, mixed or sensorineural hearing loss.

There is also Supra-Frequency Audiometry, which evaluates hearing sensitivity between 8000Hz -16,000Hz. Although this frequency range is not essential for hearing speech, it is useful in measuring the overall health of the inner ear. Typically, Supra-Frequency testing is performed to detect the effects of noise exposure or ototoxicity.



Sound is comprised of waves of varying speed and height that determine the pitch and the volume of that sound. Those sound waves enter through the ear canal and travel inward striking the eardrum. The vibration of the eardrum causes movement of the middle ear bones magnifying the sound. Those vibrations enter the cochlea, which is the main sensory organ of hearing. The fluid in this space moves from the vibrations, bending tiny hair cells called cilia. These moving hair cells trigger an electrical impulse which travels along the auditory nerve to the brain where it is interpreted as sound.

Anatomy of the Human Ear

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