Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests to diagnose hearing loss may include:

  • General screening tests. Your doctor may ask you to cover one ear at a time to see how well you hear words spoken at various volumes and how you respond to other sounds.
  • Tuning fork tests. Tuning forks are two-pronged, metal instruments that produce sounds when struck. Simple tests with tuning forks can help your doctor detect hearing loss. A tuning fork evaluation may also reveal whether hearing loss is caused by damage to the vibrating parts of your middle ear (including your eardrum), damage to sensors or nerves of your inner ear, or damage to both.
  • Audiometer tests. During these more-thorough tests conducted by an audiologist, you wear earphones and hear sounds directed to one ear at a time. The audiologist presents a range of sounds of various tones and asks you to indicate each time you hear the sound. Each tone is repeated at faint levels to find out when you can barely hear. The audiologist will also present various words to determine your hearing ability.
Aug. 23, 2011

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.