Hearing tests are performed by an Audiologist and determine whether a person's hearing is normal or abnormal. Hearing is usually tested by having the person respond to tones or speech stimuli.
The testing of hearing is done in a sound booth. Sound booths are specially constructed rooms that decrease the loudness of the surrounding noises. The inside of the sound booth is very quiet, which allows the person being tested to hear very faint sounds.
If you have questions or would like to see what a sound booth looks like before your scheduled appointment, please call (608) 775-2374 and schedule a time for a tour between 7:30-8 a.m.
Types of Hearing Tests
Auditory Processing (AP) Assessments
Auditory processing, simply put, is how our auditory system processes what we hear. AP assessments include a battery of tests designed to stress the auditory system in different ways. The child's performance is then compared to the performance of other children the same age.
Acoustic reflex assessment
An acoustic reflex assessment measures the response of a tiny ear muscle that contracts when a loud sound occurs. The level at which the acoustic reflex occurs, or the absence of the acoustic reflex, provides important information about the type and severity of hearing loss.
Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing
Auditory brainstem response testing focuses on an infant's ability to hear soft sounds through miniature earphones. The test records electrical activity of the auditory nerve and auditory brainstem by recording the responses to a series of clicks or tones presented to each ear. Auditory brainstem response testing can also be used for the identification of balance and neurological issues.
Conditioned play audiometry
A conditioned play assessment is appropriate for children between the ages of two and 5 years. The test assesses hearing by using conditioned responses to sound. The child is conditioned to perform a play activity whenever they hear a sound.
Otoacoustic emissions testing (OAEs)
Otoacoustic emissions tests measure the ability of the cochlea's outer hair cells to respond to sound. Otoacoustic emissions are measured by presenting a series of clicks or tones in the ear through a probe. The presence of the emission is an indication of normal outer hair cell function. This type of testing is typically used for infants, young children and the developmentally delayed.
Speech reception and identification
Speech reception and identification tests use spoken words and sentences to assess understanding of speech. The tests involve determining the softest level at which speech is understood or heard. These tests are used to help predict how well a patient might do with hearing aids.
Tympanometry is a test used to detect disorders of the middle ear. Tympanometry involves pressure changes in the ear canal while sound transmission is monitored and plotted.
Videonystagmography (VNG) is used to evaluate dizziness and unsteadiness. The testing procedure involves wearing video goggles that record eye movements. A VNG is generally performed when more information is needed in order to diagnose a dizziness or unsteadiness.
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)
Visually Reinforcement Audiometry is a technique for obtaining responses to sounds from children who are unable to communicate what they hear. The child is presented with a sound, and when they respond, they are rewarded with animated toy or video image. Once the child is conditioned to respond to the sound, the intensity of the signal is reduced to determine threshold of hearing.
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)
The VEMP test is sometimes used to evaluate dizziness and unsteadiness. The VEMP evaluation can provide valuable information on how various structures in the inner ear are working.