Why is Pure-Tone Audiometry a Common Hearing Test?

an audiologist is reviewing a patient's audiogram

If you’re experiencing any form of hearing loss, then it’s important that you pay a visit to an audiologist and get a hearing test. They’ll be able to measure the extent of your hearing loss and offer advice on how you can improve things. While there are multiple different components to a hearing test, perhaps the one that’s most common is pure-tone audiometry. 

Indeed, this is something that you’ll find that it’s a part of virtually all hearing tests; it’s a standard measuring tool when it comes to hearing. It’s not the only test used in a hearing test, but it is arguably the most important.   

What is pure tone audiometry?

So, what exactly is pure-tone audiometry? It’s all in the name. The test uses pure tones, which are played at different frequencies. They’ll be played at a loud volume, which you’ll likely be able to hear. 

Throughout the test, the frequency and volume will change. Eventually, it’ll become quieter and quieter, until you can no longer hear anything, even though there’s a tone being played. Being unable to hear a tone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re experiencing hearing loss. There are some tones that a 16-year-old can hear that a 30-year-old cannot. There may be an issue if you’re unable to hear tones that people in your age bracket are normally able to hear.

Throughout the course of the test, the audiologist will create a picture of your standard of hearing. They’ll know the decibels and frequencies that you’re able to hear, and they’ll take it from there.

The advantages of pure tone audiometry tests

The reason why pure-tone audiometry is so commonly used in hearing tests is that they have so many advantages. Perhaps the most common reason why you’ll see every audiologist use them is that they’re accurate. They’re able to deliver high-quality results that really do give an accurate picture of a person’s hearing capabilities. 

They can also be used on each ear, which provides even more data and ultimately helps to identify the type and level of hearing loss. And perhaps the best part? They’re fast. Given the amount of data and usefulness of this type of test, you might think that it would take some time, but that’s not the case – the test will take around twenty minutes. 

The other advantages are that it’s cost-effective and doesn’t require any specialist equipment. Indeed, one of the main appeals of this type of test is that it’s so simple. There are some instances when pure-tone audiometry is not recommended, such as when a person is unable to wear earphones. But those instances are rare. By and large, pure-tone audiometry allows audiologists to get an accurate picture of a person’s hearing, with minimal effort. 

What are the other testing methods?

You’ll find that pure-tone audiometry is used in virtually all hearing tests. But it’s not the only test that’s used. It may be useful to use speech testing. Rather than just the amount of noise that a person is able to hear, this method allows the audiologist to determine how well they’re able to participate in social situations. This is one of the main areas where people feel the effects of their hearing loss. By testing to see the lowest volume a person can hear speech, the audiologist can get an idea about the patient’s speech recognition threshold. 

Other tests may also be used. Ultimately, the job of the audiologist is to get a full picture of a person’s hearing. This is one of the key reasons why it’s important to work with an audiologist; they’ll have the tools that are required to adequately test a person’s hearing capabilities, using various methods. 

Where to go from there 

If you’re beginning to experience hearing loss, and want to know the extent to which your hearing has been compromised, then book an appointment with us here at Imagine Hearing Solutions. Our dedicated, professional and respectful team will ensure that you feel completely at ease before, during, and after your hearing test. If we detect an issue, we’ll be able to work with you to find a solution that you’re happy with. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, then you can do so by giving us a call today at 530-205-0259.