Tests and Procedures
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    Hearing Testing

    A standard hearing evaluation may consist of any or all of the following tests.

    • The whisper test checks how well you hear whispered speech across a short distance and how well you understand speech.
    • The tuning fork test checks how well sound moves through your ear.
    • Pure tone audiometry checks how well you hear sounds that reach the inner ear through the ear canal. You listen to tones through earphones in this test.
    • Speech reception and word recognition tests check how well you hear and understand speech.
    • A acoustic immittance test measures the amount of sound energy that bounces back from the eardrum and the bones of the middle ear instead of being sent on the inner ear.
    • Otoacoustic emissions testing (OAE)measures the inner ear's response to sound. Otoacoustic emissions are sounds made by the cochlea in response to a sound, such as a tone or click. Ear specialists can record and interpret these sounds to help rule out hearing loss. OAE testing is often used to screen newborns for hearing problems.


    Reversible hearing loss, because of earwax or ear infections, is generally cured after treating its cause. If you continue to have hearing problems, consult the physician. You may need more medicine or surgery, depending on the cause of your hearing loss.

    If you have permanent hearing loss, age-related and noise induced hearing loss, you will continue to use a hearing aid. Your doctor or other hearing specialist may suggest occasional hearing tests to see whether your hearing has changed; if it has, your hearing aid may need to be adjusted.