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Hearing Loss

The Difference Between a Hearing Screening and Hearing Test

When going into a hearing clinic you will encounter hearing screenings and hearing tests. This article helps clear up confusion and provide greater clarity on the two. 

It is important for consumers to know the difference between hearing screenings and hearing tests. Read this article to avoid future frustration by knowing how to navigate a hearing clinic’s offerings.

A hearing screening involves a dialogue with a hearing care professional. Its goal is to provide the patient with a top level evaluation of their hearing loss matter. If the professional determines that further evaluation is necessary, the patient will take a hearing test in a sound-treated booth in order to determine the severity of the loss. 

What does a hearing screening cost? 

The good news is that a majority of our hearing clinics offer free hearing screenings. In addition, insurance should cover hearing screenings as it only takes a few minutes of the doctor’s time. To make sure the insurance does kick into effect and pay for it, check with your insurance or primary care doctor first. 

What happens during a hearing screening? 

During a hearing screening an ENT, audiologist, or hearing professional will discuss your hearing loss with you. They may also take an otoscope to investigate any blockages in the ear canal and rule out conductive hearing loss and other medically related symptoms. 

The doctor will ask you questions such as “Which environments challenge your sense of hearing the most? & “How long have you had a hearing loss?” Screenings are generally pass-fail tests that determine if further testing is necessary. If you pass the screening, no further tests are needed, but if you fail the screening, further audiometric measures are needed so as to properly address your hearing loss. Oftentimes medical professionals are confirming what the patient already knows.

What happens during a hearing test?

Hearing tests objectively measure your hearing ability while assessing the severity of your loss. Patients sit in a sound-treated booth and are played tones of varying frequencies and volumes. The patient raises their hand or presses a button when they hear the tone. Responses are aggregated and an audiogram is constructed. A hearing evaluation is an assessment that can only be performed in person by a qualified hearing medical professional. 

Are hearing tests covered by insurance? 

Hearing tests can be covered by insurance, but be sure to check with your insurance provider or your employer’s benefits manager first. According to Costhelper, hearing tests can cost as much as $250 for individuals without insurance.  

Additional Hearing Tests

An audiologist can use a plethora of additional tests that give additional insight into the nature of your hearing loss. Five additional tests you may take include: 

1. Air Conduction: Patient listens to tones through headphones to identify what is the faintest tone that they can hear at different pitches. 

2. Pure Tone Bone Conduction: Used to determine how vibrations pass through the middle and inner ear. The objective of the test is to determine if there is nerve damage to the cells. 

3. Audiometry: The patient wears headphones that play tones of differing volume and pitch, signaling when they hear tone by raising their hand. For each pitch, the test identifies the quietest tone the patient can hear in each ear. 

4. Speech Discrimination Test: Here the hearing specialist is checking for the patient’s ability to discern one similar sounding word from another. For instance, word pairs like  “pass” and “path” (or “snake” and “flake”) are tricky to differentiate.  

5. Speech Threshold Test: Measures how loudly words have to be spoken to be understood. The patient is presented with different words as minimum volume thresholds are determined.

Before being fitted for hearing aids your hearing instrument specialist needs an audiogram, which is a graphic record of your hearing loss.
Before being fitted for hearing aids your hearing instrument specialist needs an audiogram, which is a graphic record of your hearing loss.

What is an audiogram?

<span>An audiogram is a chart that shows the results of your hearing test. Two lines classify the hearing thresholds of the left and right ear. The area below the line shows the levels of hearing loss that this person can hear and the area above the line shows the levels that the person can’t hear.&nbsp;</span>
An audiogram is a chart that shows the results of your hearing test. Two lines classify the hearing thresholds of the left and right ear. The area below the line shows the levels of hearing loss that this person can hear and the area above the line shows the levels that the person can’t hear. 

Online Hearing Test

Online hearing tests are software programs that mimic the hearing test you’d take in a clinic. Online hearing tests are not meant to replace the ones given by a medical professional. The fact that they are self administered, and not calibrated to each person’s software and hardware leaves something to be desired. 

Try out our own online hearing test test. It takes 5 minutes and should be played through headphones. 

What are the steps to getting a hearing aid?

Follow the steps to get a hearing aid:
1. Take an online hearing test 
2. Go to a local hearing professional and check your ears
3. Receive an audiogram
4. Find the right features and technology you need using the Right Fit Wizard

Once the results of your audiogram are finalized, a hearing aid specialist will be called into the clinic, accompanying the medical professional. Be sure to ask your doctor for a physical copy of your audiogram immediately after the test and diagnosis. With this audiogram you can elect to purchase hearing aids online, compare prices, and learn about hearing aids before making the purchasing decision. 

Your audiologist is trained to help you live life to the fullest with hearing loss. To find a clinic that does free screenings in your area visit our clinic locator. Simply put in your zip code and we will let you know if there is a clinic nearby. 

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