Hearing tests

Many clinics will offer free hearing screenings. These are simple and quick but may miss some hearing problems.

Full diagnostic hearing tests will include:

  • Pure tone audiometry (air conduction and bone conduction)
    This is a behavioural test that determines the quietest tones someone can hear (hearing threshold). The test is performed using headphones and you will be asked to respond each time you hear a sound. The results are plotted on an audiogram, which shows the degree, type and configuration of hearing loss.
  • Speech audiometry
    This determines how well someone can recognise words in a quiet environment. You will be asked to repeat back words played to you at different loudness levels.
  • Immittance audiometry (tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing)
    Tympanometry determines the movement of the eardrum with pressure changes in the ear canal. Acoustic reflex testing measures a muscle contraction in the middle ear, which occurs when there is a loud sound. A small, soft probe will be put into your ear to do this.

Paediatric tests

  • Otoacoustic emission testing (OAEs).
    This measures the status of the cochlea, specifically hair cell function.  It is an objective test that does not rely on behavioural responses. It is particularly useful for testing children who can not or will not do behavioural testing. A small, soft probe will be put into your child’s ear to do this.
  • Play Audiometry
    Your child is conditioned to perform a play activity (e.g. put a block onto a board) every time they hear a sound. Testing is usually done with headphones to determine hearing thresholds in each ear separately.
  • Kendall Toy Test
    Your child is asked to identify objects when spoken at a minimal level, without visual cues. It helps to demonstrate a child’s ability to discriminate sounds.

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