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Hearing Test

Hearing tests are carried out for two main reasons:

  • as a routine part of a baby’s or young child’s developmental checks
  • to check the hearing of someone who is experiencing hearing problems or has a hearing impairment

Hearing problems

Your hearing may be affected if there is a problem with any part of your ear, such as a blockage in your ear canal or an infection of your outer ear (otitis externa) or middle ear (otitis media). This type of outer or middle ear hearing loss is known as conductive hearing loss, wher the sounds are unable to reach the inner ear hearing organ even though it is working normally. Hearing loss of this type may be temporary and reversible.

If sounds reach the inner ear but are still not heard, the fault lies in the inner ear or, rarely, in the hearing nerve. This is called sensori-neural hearing loss. Inner ear hearing loss may occur for a number of reasons, most commonly as a result of age-related change. Inner ear hearing loss is usually permanent.

Rarely, people are born with an inner ear hearing loss. Approximately 1 in 1,000 babies are born with a permanent inner ear hearing loss.

Hearing tests

Hearing tests are painless procedures. A number of different hearing tests are used to check how well the ears are functioning and their ability to detect different levels of sound. Two tests that are often used to check the hearing of babies are the:

  • otoacoustic emissions test (OAE)
  • auditory brainstem response test (ABR)

For older children and adults, a piece of equipment called an audiometer is usually used to test hearing. This test is called an audiogram and it records how well you can hear different pitches sound

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