Types of Auditory Tests
Comprehensive Audiometry (Puretone and Speech Audiometry)
This test is most often used for patients ages 5 years and up. The patient is asked to respond each time a tone is heard through the ear phone. The elicited response may be raising a hand, saying a catch word, or pressing a button. The patient may also be asked to repeat a list of words.
This test helps to determine how the middle ear is functioning, by assessing the movement/mobility of the eardrum, pressure in the middle ear space and the middle ear's muscle reflex. To perform this test, a small probe is placed in the patient's ear canal and a slight pressure is applied. Tympanometry is obtained as part of the audiological evaluation on patients of all ages.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing assesses the function of the cochlea or inner ear. To perform this test, a small probe is placed in the patient's ear which plays a series of sounds. The probe then records the otoacoustic emission, which is a sound produced by the ear in response to the stimulus. It is very important for the patient to be quiet and relatively still during this test. OAE testing is most often obtained as part of the audiological evaluation on patients of all ages. It is specifically used as a screening test on newborns/infants.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
The ABR is a special hearing test that can be used to track the nerve signals arising in the inner ear as they travel through the hearing nerve (called the auditory nerve) to the region of the brain responsible for hearing. The test is useful because it can tell us where along that path the hearing loss has occurred. For example, the ABR is often used for individuals with sensorineural (nerve) loss in just one ear. This loss can sometimes be caused by a benign (non-cancerous) tumor on the auditory nerve. If the ABR is normal along that region of the path, the chances of having this tumor are quite small.
The ECochG test measure an electric potential generated in the inner ear in response to a sound. An electrode is placed in the ear canal or on the eardrum and sound is transmitted through an earphone. This testing is often used to detect increased inner ear pressure.