Hearing screening, hearing test, hearing evaluation. You may have heard all of these terms at one point or another. What's the difference? Is there a difference?
If you've ever wondered about this and what exactly is involved when you have your hearing checked, you're not alone.
Hearing screenings indicate whether or not hearing loss is present and the results consist of either pass or fail. A screening does not show the type or degree of hearing loss, but rather is an indicator to whether further testing is recommended.
If your screening signals that you may have hearing loss, the next step would be to have your hearing tested. While a screening is quickly performed, a hearing test is more detailed and thorough. Through headphones, you listen for a series of tones, ranging from low to high frequencies. This testing reveals the faintest tone you can hear at each frequency; the results are charted on an audiogram. This hearing test is known as pure-tone testing and helps to identify the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss.
A hearing evaluation may be comprised of hearing tests and a consultation with the hearing care provider. They will likely take in your hearing health history, conduct a visual ear inspection with an otoscope that allows them to view the ear canal, and then discuss your results along with their recommendations for how to best address any hearing loss.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends those below age 50 to have their hearing screening every decade and for those 50 and older, to have their hearing screened every 3 years.
If you're concerned about your hearing, the first step may be to schedule a hearing screening.