What is a hearing evaluation?

When you come to a UW Health audiology clinic for a hearing evaluation, there are certain things that you can expect. We will take the time to obtain a comprehensive hearing case history to determine how long you have been having trouble, if one or both ears are affected and if you have symptoms other than hearing loss (tinnitus, or dizziness).

Hearing tests

A comprehensive hearing test is comprised of several parts, including:

  • Air conduction: Air conduction testing includes listening to tones of different frequencies under earphones and finding the lowest possible volume of detection for each frequency tone. Air conduction is testing the entire hearing mechanism from the outer, middle to inner part of the ear.

  • Bone conduction: Bone conduction is tested through a bone occillator that is placed behind the ear on the mastoid bone or on the forehead of the patient. This transfers sound directly into the inner ear. Bone conduction will evaluate how just the inner ear is working as opposed to the entire hearing system.

  • Word recognition: Word recognition ability testing is the ability to understand words at a comfortable loudness level. If someone has a hearing loss, sometimes they can hear the words or sounds at a comfortable level, but cannot understand what is being said.

At the conclusion of this test, the audiologist will discuss the results with you and determine if a hearing loss is present. If you do have a hearing loss, the type of loss will be identified to you.

If a hearing aid is recommended for you, we will offer information and articles to help you determine which types of hearing aids are available. Also, other important information you need to know about hearing aids prior to purchasing them.

Hearing aid evaluations

A hearing aid evaluation is a separate appointment with an audiologist that will determine which type of hearing aid is the best for your hearing loss, your lifestyle and your budget.