A hearing screening is a simple “pass” or “fail” test. Its purpose is to determine if you have normal hearing or not. It usually consists of a series of beeps or tones at the limit of normal range to see if you are able to hear them. You may have had one at your primary care physician’s office or at a health fair or even online. A screening will test your hearing across all different pitches, but it is not sufficient to determine the type or degree of hearing loss. It will only tell you if there is evidence of hearing loss.
A hearing evaluation (or hearing exam) is a comprehensive examination performed by a licensed audiologist or hearing instrument specialist that includes a review of your full case history and several types of hearing tests. It also includes counseling to help you understand and interpret the results. Based on the findings, your provider will make recommendations and prescribe appropriate treatment, which may include hearing aids.
Here are some of the tests you can expect:
The goal of the hearing evaluation is to give your provider a complete picture of your unique hearing loss profile. It will determine whether your hearing loss is a result of problems in the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, or a combination. With this knowledge, your provider can determine the appropriate treatment for you.
Although a hearing screening can alert you to potential hearing problems, a full hearing evaluation performed by a licensed provider is important to fully understand and address your hearing loss effectively.