Accessibility Tools
Hearing Assessments for Adults

What are Hearing Assessments for Adults?

Hearing assessments are tests which measure how well the adult ear can receive and filter auditory stimulus and convert it into signals that can be transmitted to the brain.  Approximately 14% of adults between the ages of 45 and 64 years have some degree of hearing loss. By age 65 or older about 30% of adults have hearing loss. 

Types of Hearing Loss

The main types of hearing loss are:

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: In this type of hearing loss, there may be an abnormality in either the structure of the ear or the nerves that are responsible for hearing. The condition may be present at birth or occur later in life. The hearing loss may be complete or partial and is usually permanent.
  • Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss is due to a blocking of sound transmission into the ear. This condition is caused by fluid or wax build-up in the ear or an ear infection. It is usually mild and treatable.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: This is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Indications for Hearing Assessments for Adults

You may need a hearing assessment if you have:

  • Trouble hearing someone speaking to you in a noisy environment
  • To ask others to repeat themselves frequently
  • A ringing sound in your ears 
  • Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds
  • To increase the volume on the TV or music system

Preparing for a Hearing Assessment

In preparation for your hearing assessment you should:

  • Inform your doctor of your medical history and current medications.
  • Avoid loud noises as they negatively impact hearing.
  • Carefully remove excess earwax from your outer ears by using a damp cloth, ear wax softener, or by saline irrigation, but do not put anything inside your ear canal.

Types of Hearing Assessment Tests

Common hearing assessment tests include the following:

  • Acoustic Reflex Measures: This test measures the reflexes of the middle ear muscles. A soft rubber tip is placed inside the ear. A series of sounds will be transmitted through the tip and the muscle reflexes will be recorded onto a machine.
  • Pure Tone Test: This test measures the lowest sound that can be heard at different pitches. Headphones will be placed over your ears and a series of tones will be played. You will be required to press a button or raise your hand when you hear the tones.
  • Tuning Fork Test: This test helps determine the type of hearing loss as well as if one or both ears are affected. A tuning fork will be held at different positions behind your ear or above your head. It will be struck to produce a tone and you will be asked to indicate when you hear the tone.
  • Speech and Word Recognition Test: This test determines your ability to understand words at different volumes. Headphones will be placed over your ears and you will be asked to repeat a series of words heard through the headphones. This may sometimes be done in a noisy environment. 
  • Tympanometry Test: This test measures the movement of your eardrum or tympanic membrane. A small device will be placed inside the ear canal.  The device pushes air through the ear causing movement of the eardrum, which is recorded. The test can also identify if there is infection, wax build-up, or damage to the eardrum.  

Outcome of Hearing Assessment Tests

The results of the hearing assessment tests will determine the severity of the hearing loss and whether it is temporary or permanent. A personalized treatment option can then be recommended which may be medication, hearing aids, cochlear implants, or surgery.  

Location & DirectionsENT Jacksonville

1370 13th Avenue South, Suite 115 Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

  • American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Miller School of Medicine