Hearing Tests

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.

Testing is done in a sound booth. Sound booths are specially constructed rooms that decrease the loudness of the surrounding noises.

Industrial Screening
For many years, Gundersen Health System has been assisting area employers with their occupational health needs. Our CAOHC-certified staff (Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation) is very familiar with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.

Industrial hearing screenings are provided at Gundersen in La Crosse. Following completion of testing, each employee receives a copy of their results to pass along to their employer. Audiograms performed at Gundersen can be coordinated with occupational health testing.

Types of Hearing Tests

Auditory Processing (AP) Assessments

Auditory processing 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 of 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. 

Conditioned play audiometry

A conditioned play assessment is appropriate for children between the ages of two and five 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. This type of testing is typically used for infants, young children and people who are 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


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) 

Videonystagmography (VNG) is used to evaluate dizziness and unsteadiness. The testing procedure involves wearing video goggles that record eye movements. 

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) 

Visual 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 an animated toy or video image. Once the child is conditioned to respond, the intensity of the signal is reduced to determine threshold of hearing.

Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)

The Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials 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. 

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