Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hearing Loss - 4 Types of Hearing Tests to Detect Early

 4 Types of Hearing Tests to Detect Early
 4 Types of Hearing Tests to Detect Early
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. This principle also applies to anyone with a hearing loss condition. The earlier the illness is detected, the better its prognosis is. However, for those who already are afflicted with the illness, hearing tests are done to see whether hearing has improved or not and whether treatments have been effective.

Hearing tests are also done for babies. Since these little tykes can't express subjective opinions yet, doctors can't be too sure whether they have normal hearing or not. Because of this, babies are subjected to hearing tests for the early detection of problems that pertain to factors that may interfere in the development of speech and other cognitive abilities. Tests for babies are very important to detect any congenital hearing defect such as hearing loss.

Hearing tests are also very important on children during school age. Although people can learn visually and kinesthetically, hearing still plays a very big part in the absorption of this information. If a child has hearing problems, then learning may be impeded. This is the reason why hearing tests are done to detect whether a certain child has hearing loss or not. If tests turn out positive, then appropriate actions can be done immediately.

For persons who are suspected of having hearing loss, the severity as well as the type of hearing loss can then be detected and established. With this, appropriate treatment and medication may be given to improve the condition of a patient. Hearing tests would also be used as an evaluative tool whether a person's hearing condition has improved or not.

1) Weber Test

Named after Ernst Heinrich Weber, the Weber Test is considered as one of the most basic tests for detecting hearing loss. This test will be able to detect two types of hearing loss: unilateral conductive hearing loss and unilateral sensorineural type.

The Weber Test makes use of a tuning fork. The fork is struck on a surface to produce vibrations. It will then be placed on top of the media lateral of the skull. A person is said to have a unilateral conductive hearing loss if one ear hears the sound louder than the other. The ear that hears the louder sound is the affected one.

2) Rinne Test

Just like the Weber test, the Rinne Test also uses a tuning fork. This hearing test was named after Heinrich Adolf Rinne, the person who developed this test. The Rinne Test compares how sound is perceived as conducted through the mastoid.

A tuning fork is struck to produce vibrations. The fork stem is then stuck on the mastoid of a person. When no sound can already be heard, the fork is then placed outside the ear.

Although the Webber Test and Rinne Test have been proven to be effective, these can't be compared to the hearing test called audiometry.

3) Audiometry Testing

Audiometry is the formal testing of a person's hearing ability. With the help of an audiometer, the hearing level of a person may be measured. It may measure the ability of a person to differentiate between different intensities of sound, distinguish speech from background sounds, or recognize pitch. In audiometry, otoacoustic emissions as well as acoustic reflex can also be measured. Results from audiometry testing can be used to diagnose whether the subject has hearing loss or other problems with the ear.

Unlike the Weber Test and the Rinne Test, audiometry testing needs a special soundproof room. It also does not make use of tuning forks. Instead, it uses a device called the audiometer.

4) Tympanometry

Tympanometry is a test usually used to detect conductive hearing loss. It is also used if nothing apparent is detected through the Rinne and Weber Test. This procedure makes use of an otoscope. This makes sure that nothing; neither foreign object nor earwax is blocking the path to the eardrum. It is considered as a foolproof method if ever the findings from the other tests produce suspiciously inaccurate or anomalous results, and further tests are needed for deeper hearing level assessment.

Tympanometry targets the eardrum's mobility, conduction of bones, and the condition of the middle ear.

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