Understanding the ENT Hearing Test and the Two Types Explained

In our fast-paced world, the significance of maintaining optimal health takes centre stage. Yet, hearing health can sometimes be overlooked amidst discussions about physical fitness and mental well-being. Enter the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) clinic – a place where experts specialise in diagnosing and treating issues related to hearing, among other functions. In this blog, we delve into the world of ENT hearing tests, shedding light on the two primary types that are instrumental in safeguarding your auditory well-being.
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What Are Hearing Tests?

Hearing tests, as the name suggests, are evaluations conducted to assess the functioning of our auditory system. These tests play a pivotal role in the early detection of potential hearing issues, which, if addressed promptly, can lead to better outcomes. ENT specialists are at the forefront of administering these tests, armed with knowledge and tools to diagnose and provide appropriate guidance for hearing problems.
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If you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, you may schedule a consultation with ENT specialist Dr Dennis Chua.

What Are the Two Types of Hearing Tests that ENT Specialists Perform?

Type 1 - Pure-Tone Audiometry

Pure-tone audiometry, the foundation of most hearing tests, involves a comprehensive process to evaluate one’s hearing sensitivity. It measures the minimal sound level (i.e., the least audible) the subject can hear. Pure-tones at various frequencies will be presented via earphones or with the use of a vibrator that is pressed onto the mastoid portion of the temporal bone.

Procedure: During the test, you’ll wear headphones and listen to a range of sounds in varying frequencies delivered to one ear at a time. When you hear a sound, you’ll be asked to indicate so by raising your hand, pressing a button, or some other signal. The audiologist will then record each tone that you have recognised.

Interpretation: The results are plotted on an audiogram, a graph that showcases your hearing thresholds at different frequencies. This helps ENT specialists identify any hearing issues and their severity. Pure-tone audiometry can reveal whether hearing acuity is normal or impaired.

Advantages and Limitations: This type of test provides accurate frequency-specific data and can assess the degree of hearing loss. However, it might not fully capture real-world communication challenges.

What to expect: During the test, the subject experiences a series of tones at varying volumes and frequencies. The results are then compiled into an audiogram for analysis.

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Type 2 - Speech Audiometry

Speech audiometry focuses on evaluating your ability to detect, perceive, understand, and repeat spoken words. It is one of the fundamental tools used to assess hearing loss.

Procedure: During this test, you’ll listen to recorded speech at different volume levels and repeat what you hear.

Interpretation: The results indicate your speech recognition (reception) threshold and speech discrimination ability, shedding light on how clearly you comprehend speech. This test highlights difficulties in understanding speech, which pure-tone audiometry might not fully capture. A speech audiometry test is vital during the fitting of hearing aids.

Advantages and Limitations: Speech audiometry mimics real-life communication scenarios and assesses speech clarity. However, it might not provide the same detailed frequency-specific information as pure-tone audiometry. In addition, the degree of familiarity with words and sounds can also affect the subject’s ability to discriminate differences, especially when the words are not in the subject’s primary language.

What to expect: Patients are exposed to recorded speech and are required to repeat what they hear, enabling specialists to gauge speech intelligibility and discrimination.

Choosing the Right Test

ENT specialists choose between pure-tone and speech audiometry based on factors such as the patient’s age, medical history, and specific hearing concerns.

For instance, speech audiometry might be preferred for assessing communication challenges in adults, while pure-tone audiometry could be more suitable for diagnosing hearing issues in children. In some cases, both tests are used in tandem to gain a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s hearing health.

If you are considering taking a hearing test and in need of assistance, book an appointment with ENT specialist Dr. Dennis Chua.

The Role of the ENT Clinic in Hearing Health

ENT clinics play a crucial role in diagnosing hearing issues. They can recommend the type of hearing test that is relevant to your condition. Based on the results of the tests, an ENT doctor can then determine the appropriate treatment or management plan for you.

Modern ENT clinics utilise technology for precise assessments, enabling more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

Beyond testing, ENT clinics also provide valuable education about hearing health and offer support for individuals grappling with hearing difficulties. Equipped with the proper knowledge about their condition, patients can make informed decisions.

Prioritising Hearing Health

In a world filled with noise, preserving our hearing health is paramount. Regular hearing tests serve as vital tools in maintaining the quality of life we cherish. If you are experiencing issues with your hearing, we recommend seeking professional guidance from an ENT clinic. Armed with the knowledge about hearing tests, you can be empowered to take control of your ear health and embark on a journey towards improved auditory well-being.

If you have questions about hearing tests and conditions, you may schedule an appointment with ENT specialist Dr Dennis Chua today.

If you have questions or concerns about your ears, nose, and throat,
you may book a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua, an ENT specialist in Singapore.
He has completed his training in otorhinolaryngology locally and attained qualifications internationally.