What Are the Different Types of Hearing Tests?

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What Are the Different Types of Hearing Tests?

What Are the Different Types of Hearing Tests

With so many high street companies offering free hearing tests, you might be wondering if it’s worth paying for a hearing test at all. This article delves into the types of hearing tests and why each is important for an accurate diagnosis.

5 Types of Hearing Tests 

Hearing tests exist in a range of formats and sorts; typically, you will be evaluated using various tests throughout a full hearing evaluation. The following are the most common forms of diagnostic hearing tests:

1. Tympanometry

Ear pressure testing, frequently called tympanometry, examines the inner ear. Inner ear examination is crucial to detect damage, infection, or fluid buildup. These problems could contribute to painful or uncomfortable sensations you may be experiencing. Tympanometry detects abnormal ear pressure levels after activities like scuba diving or air travel.

2. Video otoscopy

Allows an audiologist to view the inside of your ear canal in real time. A probe with a small camera is inserted into your ear, providing a live video of the canal and eardrum. During a video otoscopy, you may also be able to view your ear canal on a screen. This test enables the audiologist to assess the health of your outer and middle ear to immediately become aware of any problems that were undetected with a tympanometry test.

3. Pure tone assessment

This is the most accurate hearing test and involves listening to specific sounds at the lowest possible volume. This detects the pitches you can hear and determines if you have a low, moderate or high level of hearing loss.  

4. Bone conduction test

This test is performed to identify if your outer or middle ear is obstructed by wax or fluid and whether you have hearing loss in your sensory cells.

5. Speech mapping

Following a hearing test, speech mapping is a test that can be used to further assess your precise level of hearing loss. By listening to and repeating specific words, an audiologist can determine the performance of the hearing aid in your ear. This enables an audiologist to produce a customised hearing aid for hearing loss treatment.  


Why Are Some Types of Hearing Tests Free?

Fundamentally, hearing tests can be classified as either diagnostic or screenings. Both types of NHS hearing tests are provided free of charge. Your GP can check for symptoms such as earache or discharge, which could be caused by something they can quickly address, such as earwax build-up or an ear infection.

When the cause of hearing loss can not be determined, your GP can refer you for a hearing test. However, an appointment could take several weeks. 

You can also check if you have hearing loss with the RNID’s free online hearing test; this type of hearing test is the most basic and least reliable. The other option is a free hearing test with a hearing aid dispenser at a high street company. This is typically a hearing screening — a basic hearing test that determines your level of hearing, but nothing else.

Do you need a Comprehensive Hearing Test?

Regardless of age, a complete hearing evaluation may seem less vital than testing for vision, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. However, an audiologist can identify an acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous (benign) brain tumour, during one exam called a video otoscopy. Early identification simplifies tumour removal and prevents potentially life-threatening consequences.

This is done during an exam called a video otoscopy. Early identification simplifies tumour removal and prevents potentially life-threatening consequences.

There is positivity surrounding this method in the industry. “Remote otological assessment using video-otoscopy shows potential as a safe and effective method for detecting the presence of ear disease in a wide range of healthcare settings.” Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2021; 278(12): 4733–4741.

Why Should You Pay For a Comprehensive Hearing Test?

If you fail a basic hearing assessment, it is worth paying for a comprehensive hearing evaluation for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Hearing aid dispensers working at high street companies typically are new graduates who may have less experience or knowledge than an audiologist working for an independent hearing clinic.
  • During a free hearing test/evaluation, the hearing aid dispensers will likely have to adhere to time restrictions, which means they may be unable to spend as long with you as they would normally.
  • Your inner ear health will be checked, and time will be allocated to perform a thorough video otoscopy and tympanometry exam in a hearing assessment. This enables an audiologist to check for underlying disorders contributing to your hearing loss or any other symptoms of concern.
  • You will typically be referred to an appropriate specialist for further investigations if the audiologist has any concerns.   
  • Tailored treatment is a crucial part of paid hearing tests and examinations. It’s essential to remember the quality of the diagnosis of your hearing loss and the value of the advice and solutions you are receiving. advice and solutions you are receiving.

Lindsay Fletcher“Hearing tests aren’t just about catching hearing loss early; they can be genuinely lifesaving. By identifying issues before they worsen, we can often detect related health conditions that might otherwise go unnoticed. For instance, hearing loss can sometimes indicate cardiovascular issues or diabetes. Early detection through a hearing test can lead to timely interventions, potentially saving lives. At Regain Hearing Clinic, we see this vital screening as a crucial part of overall health care,”

Lindsay Fletcher, (RHAD), (BSHAA), FdA: Company Director & Consultant Audiologist

A comprehensive hearing evaluation at Regain Hearing occurs with one of our highly experienced and fully qualified audiologists. We offer unparalleled knowledge and attention alongside all types of hearing tests required to ensure you are provided with the most effective solutions. Check out our pricing page to learn more about our thorough hearing examinations and how much they cost. 

Choose to make an investment in your hearing health and discover the impact our skilled audiologists have on your hearing. At Regain Hearing, we take the time to carefully and expertly evaluate your hearing and diagnose your hearing loss accurately. To make sure we can provide you with the most appropriate hearing treatment, we do not have any time restrictions and our audiologists perform all tests extremely carefully –  forensic audiologists perform all tests extremely carefully.

What happens after the hearing test?

This depends on your situation. You’ll likely get the results straight away and your audiologist will then administer treatment. We take the following steps:

  • Review of Results: The audiologist will go over the audiogram, which is the chart that shows your hearing sensitivity at different frequencies and volumes.
  • Explanation of Hearing Loss: They will explain the type of hearing loss identified (conductive, sensorineural, or mixed) and its severity (mild, moderate, severe, or profound).
  • Further Testing: Depending on the results, further diagnostic tests may be recommended to identify the underlying cause of the hearing loss.
  • Recommendations: Based on the outcome, the audiologist may suggest suitable interventions. This could include:
    • Medical treatment for any underlying conditions.
    • The use of hearing aids or other assistive listening devices.
  • Hearing Aids Fitting: If hearing aids are advised, you may need additional appointments for fitting and tuning to ensure they are effective.
  • Follow-up: Regular follow-up appointments may be scheduled to assess how well you are adapting to any hearing aids and to make any necessary adjustments.


How long does a comprehensive hearing evaluation typically take?

The duration of a comprehensive hearing evaluation can vary. It depends on factors like the complexity of your hearing issues. Generally, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more.

Are there any risks associated with diagnostic hearing tests?

Diagnostic hearing tests, when conducted by qualified audiologists, are safe and non-invasive. However, some tests, like tympanometry or video otoscopy, may cause mild discomfort due to the equipment insertion into the ear canal.

Can a hearing test accurately determine the cause of my hearing loss?

While hearing tests provide valuable information about your hearing abilities, they may not always pinpoint the exact cause of your hearing loss. They can identify factors like ear wax buildup, middle ear infections, or sensorineural damage. Further diagnostic procedures or medical examinations may be necessary for precise diagnosis.

We also provide the same level of attention with our Hear at Home service. If you want to arrange a hearing test at your home, this service is available in South East London, Essex and Kent:

If you’re experiencing hearing problems or have any concerns about your hearing health, contact us to arrange a hearing assessment at one of our clinics or at home with the specialists at Regain Hearing.