The terms hearing screening and hearing evaluation are often thrown around and used interchangeably. Understanding the difference can ensure you are scheduling the right appointment in order to get the information you are looking for. Below is a breakdown of what each term means.
What Is a Hearing Screening?
Much like the driving test you had to take at the San Francisco DMV in order to get your license, there are only two results of a hearing screening – pass or fail. The sole purpose of a screening is to determine if your hearing is normal.
During a hearing screening, you will listen to a series of tones or beeps that are set to the limit of a normal hearing range. Then you’ll be asked if you heard each one. While these tones will vary by pitch, being able to hear or not hear a certain one will not provide you with any specific information about your degree of hearing loss.
Hearing screenings are often performed at school, in your primary care physician’s office or even online. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has put together a relatively simple series of questions that can tell you if you need a comprehensive hearing evaluation.
If you fail the hearing screening, you will be referred to an audiologist for a hearing evaluation.
What Is a Hearing Evaluation?
A hearing evaluation is a comprehensive exam that includes a review your family history of hearing loss, a look inside your ear and a series of tests used to determine your exact type and degree of hearing loss. A hearing evaluation can only be performed by a licensed audiologist or hearing instrument specialist, who will use the results to create an individualized treatment plan to address your specific hearing needs.
The tests used in a hearing evaluation are all quick and painless. You may be given any or all of the following tests:
- Pure tone testing.
- Bone conduction testing.
- Speech testing.
- Acoustic reflex testing.
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR).
- Otoacoustic emissions (OESs).
To learn more about what goes into a comprehensive hearing evaluation or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact San Francisco Audiology today.