What is audiometry?

Audiometry is a psychophysical measurement of hearing: learning about an individual’s hearing sensitivity using acoustic stimuli.How is the hearing test done?

During the hearing test at frequencies of 125-8000Hz, usually without sound, so-called pure-tone, sinusoidal sounds are given via a two-channel audiometer. The sound is delivered to the auditory canal through headphones to determine the air-conduction hearing threshold, while the bone-conduction hearing threshold is determined using a vibrator placed on the mastoid part of the temporal bone behind the ear.

When do we perform an audiological examination?

In the case of a hearing complaint, we always perform an audiological examination, during which the type of hearing loss (conductive, sensorineural, and mixed) and the degree of hearing loss (mild, moderate, severe) are determined. Conductive-type hearing loss is characteristic of diseases of the outer and middle ear, while sensorineural hearing loss are of inner ear, auditory nerve or auditory cortex origin. Hearing loss can be unilateral, bilateral, acute or chronic in duration. In the case of blocked ears, tinnitus and dizziness, a hearing test is mandatory in all cases. Treatment is based on audiological findings.

The examination is usually recommended by an otolaryngologist (ear-nose-throat specialist), so the test finding includes ear status, which is essential for a hearing test. If the patient is referred from another field e.g., neurology, for a hearing examination, prior to this an ear-nose-throat examination and accurate recording of the status of the ear are required in all cases.

What happens during the test?

We perform the hearing test in a quiet, soundproof room. The patient signals the sounds they have just heard by raising their hand, pressing an indicator button, or verbally. The thresholds thus determined are accurately recorded at different frequencies, so that the air and bone conduction hearing thresholds are determined separately for both ears.

How should you arrive for the test?

The test takes approximately 20-25 minutes (depending on the patient’s cooperation) and is painless but requires attention. The patient can eat or drink before the test, but it is important that they are not tense or stressed during the test.