Tests to diagnose hearing loss may include:
Sept. 05, 2014
- Physical exam. Your doctor will look in your ear for possible causes of your hearing loss, such as earwax or inflammation from an infection. Your doctor will also look for any structural causes of your hearing problems.
- 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.
- Presbycusis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/presbycusis.aspx. Accessed May 24, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed May 28, 2014.
- Lasak JM, et al. Hearing loss: Diagnosis and management. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2014;41:19.
- Weber PC. Etiology of hearing loss in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 24, 2014.
- Common sounds. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/education/teachers/pages/common_sounds.aspx. Accessed May 26, 2014.
- Noise and hearing loss prevention: Noise meter. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/noisemeter.html. Accessed May 28, 2014.
- Occupational noise exposure — 1910.95. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9735. Accessed May 26, 2014.
- It's a noisy world we live in. How loud is too loud? American Tinnitus Association. http://www.ata.org/for-patients/how-loud-too-loud. Accessed May 24, 2014.
- Occupational noise exposure. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/. Accessed May 28, 2014.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 10, 2014.