Hearing Tests

Who Should be Screened for Hearing Loss?

People of any age can be screened for hearing loss. Newborn infants are now routinely screened before leaving the hospital. Most preschoolers and school-age children are screened periodically at their schools or in their doctors’ offices. Adults can receive screenings from their doctor or at health fairs.

Hearing loss increases as a function of age, especially for frequencies of 2000 Hertz (Hz) and above. Sounds above 2000Hz are the soft consonant sounds such as /s/ in “sun” and /th/ in “thumb.” While more than 30% of people over age 65 have some type of hearing loss, 14% of those between 45 and 64 have hearing loss. Close to 8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 have hearing loss. Adults should be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter.

Certainly, anytime you have a concern about your hearing or your child’s hearing, you should ask your doctor about getting a hearing screening. Anyone failing a hearing screening should be referred to a certified audiologist for a more comprehensive audiologic (hearing) evaluation. The follow-up evaluation should be conducted as soon as possible after the failed hearing screening and no more than 3 months later. [1]

Types of Tests

Complete Audiologic Evaluation (CAE)

This test assesses the degree and type of hearing loss, as well as possible hearing aid candidacy.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)

An OAE measures an acoustic response that is produced by the inner ear (cochlea), which in essence bounces back out of the ear in response to a sound stimulus. A small probe containing a microphone is placed in the patient’s ear. This test is used on patients of all ages from newborns to geriatrics.

Tympanogram (Tymp)

A test used to assess the function of the middle ear including: fluid, dysfunction of the *Eustachian Tube and ear drum perforation. (*The Eustachian tube is a channel that runs from the middle ear to the pharynx to protect, aerate and drain the middle ear.)

Electrocochleography (ECOG)

A neurodiagnostic test which aids in the diagnosis of *Meneire’s Disease, which is an inner ear disorder with symptoms that include vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss.

Videonystagmography (VNG or VENG)

A test used to assess patients who are experiencing symptoms of vertigo or dizziness.

[1] Reprinted with permission from “Hearing and Balance.”  Available from http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/ . © Copyright 2013. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  All rights reserved.