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Explore Screening/Audiological assessments in more detail :

Terminology

Audiograms describe the results of many tests. These tests serve three purposes: i)  to measure the presence, and amount, of hearing loss in order to understand its impact on communication, ii) to guide recommendations for amplification (e.g. hearing aids), and iii) to identify which part(s) of the auditory system are related to the hearing loss. For example, audiologists use X and O symbols to indicate the softest levels at which someone could hear a pure tone sound (or “beep”) while wearing headphones. This gives a good indication of the amount of hearing loss in each ear, but doesn’t indicate where the problem is. By adding tests using a bone conduction vibrator, the audiologist can begin to narrow down which structure(s) is affected. We refer to these tests as “air conduction” (through headphones or speakers) or “bone conduction” (through a bone conduction vibrator). Please visit this American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website page for more information on the audiogram. 

Other tests ask people to listen to speech. Tests such as the Speech Reception Threshold (SRT) or Speech Awareness Threshold (SAT) measure the softest level at which someone can just hear speech. The Speech Discrimination Score measures how accurately someone can repeat words at a comfortable loudness level, to see how speech understanding is impacted by the hearing loss. For example, for two people with the same degree of pure tone hearing loss, one person might be able to understand 92% of the words, and another person with the same loss might understand only 76% of the words.

Other tests measure how well the middle ear structures work, such as tympanometry, stapedial reflex testing, and ear canal volume. There are specialized tests for babies or patients who have difficulty with standard testing, such as visual reinforcement audiometry, conditioned play audiometry or behavioural audiometry. Tests such as otoacoustic emissions and auditory brainstem response testing are used both in newborn screening program and in diagnostic testing, to provide an indirect measure of hearing without needing a response from the patient.