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eContact! 9.4 — Perte auditive et sujets connexes / Hearing (Loss) and Related Issues

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Hearing (Loss): Hearing Tests


The following list describes the various Audiology/Hearing tests one may undergo, the reasons to get them, side effects and dangers involved, and where/when to get them done. Most of the tests listed below are specialised tests which are available only through a referral by an audiologist. Some basic tests may be done without professional consultation, however. For example, in Germany, many audiology shops offer a free hearing test which you can get done by just walking in.



Acoustic Reflex Test

This test is used to measure the contraction of the stapedius and tensor tympani muscles when subjected to high intensity sounds. An improperly-functioning Stapedius will transmit either too much vibration to the cochlea (which may result in cochlear damage) or too little (possibly an indication of ear dysfunction or neural hearing loss).



Test to determine the “hearing threshold” for an individual using calibrated equipment in an acoustically-controlled environment. Measurements are made to chart the intensity at which specific frequencies need to be for the subject to hear them. This subjective test is for aural perception.


Brainstem Evoked Response Audiometry (BERA)

Physiological test using electrodes to measure the brainstem’s response to tones. This test can be used to determine if and to what extent damage has occured in the inner ear (sensory) or to the auditory nerve (neural).


Ear Cleaning (Self-administering)

Although not a test in itself, this may resolve some minor cases of hearing loss, as excessive wax buildup can in fact cause a slight dulling in the hearing. This should not be done if there is ongoing pain, which can, in some cases, be a sign of a ruptured eardrum.


Flush the ear out gently for 3–5 minutes with body temperature water (too cold or warm will cause dizziness) using a small rubber bulb syringe. Some drop solutions can be purchased to soften the wax for 5–10 minutes prior to flushing.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A scan of the inner ear nerves and brain using an extremely powerful magnet and radio waves can be used to discover or locate causes of hearing loss not directly related to the hearing mechanism.


It is imperative that the subject always wear ear protection when getting an MRI, as some subjects have reported considerable hearing loss following an MRI without wearing ear protection.


Online Tests (Self-administering)

See the Resources page in this WIKI.


Speech Test

A subjective test used to determine the degree of perception and recognition of spoken phrases (ordinary conversation). The subject repeats the words the person giving the test speaks. Speech tests are not always performed by an Audiologist; fo example, many schools will perform basic versions of this test to monitor the hearing of children and youths.



Test of the pressure in the ear canal which can be used to diagnose the state of the middle ear and objectively measure the response of the eardrum and ossicles. Results of the test can help indicate whether or not there is blockage, fluid build-up, perforation or other troubles in the middle ear.






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