Audiometry tests are used to assess an individual's range of hearing. Hearing tests are carried out as a routine examination in infants and young children to rule out congenital defects. In other instances, the test may be carried out to diagnose any problems related to hearing.
Several different tests are used to establish the range of functioning and the ability to detect different levels of sound. These tests are performed by specialists in the area.
Pure tone audiometry tests check for the perception of different volumes and frequencies. A pure tone test measures the least volume of sound you can differentiate at different pitches. A variety of sounds are played at varying intervals into the ear, one at a time, to determine your range of hearing.
The ability to distinguish speech from background noise is checked by asking the patient to repeat the words in a sound strip that carries environmental interference.
Automated acoustic emissions (AOAE) tests employ a computer attached to an earpiece. The device emanates clicking noises and measure the response produced by the ear. The automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) test utilizes sensors, placed on the head and neck to check the response of the nerves. Bone conduction tests are performed with help of sensors that generate a noise along with vibrations.
In all these tests, the patient is usually asked to respond by raising his hand when the sound becomes audible. The results are recorded to study the underlying pattern and determine the course of treatment if any.