Have you ever wondered how doctors assess hearing abilities? One of the most common tests to evaluate hearing is the Pure Tone Audiometry test (PTA). This article will explore the procedure and interpretation of the PTA test, which helps identify hearing loss and determine the best action to improve hearing health.
What is Pure Tone Audiometry?
Pure Tone Audiometry is a diagnostic test that measures a person’s hearing sensitivity across different frequencies. It involves using headphones or inserting earphones and a particular audiometer machine. This painless test provides valuable information about the degree and type of hearing loss.
The audiologist will review the process with you and address any questions before the test starts. They will ensure that you are comfortable and ready for the test. It’s important to communicate any concerns or discomfort you may experience during the test.
2. Soundproof Room:
The test is carried out in a soundproof area to guarantee reliable findings. It gets rid of any outside noise that can affect the exam.
3. Headphones and Tones:
You will be asked to wear headphones or insert earphones, depending on the type of test being conducted. The audiometer generates tones of varying loudness and frequency, which you will hear through the headphones.
4. Responding to Tones:
As you hear each tone, you will be asked to respond in a specific way. This could involve raising your hand, pressing a button, or indicating whenever you hear a sound. It’s essential to listen carefully and respond accurately to ensure accurate results.
5. Testing Frequencies:
The audiologist will test your hearing at different frequencies, ranging from low to high. Typically tested frequencies include 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, 4000 Hz, and 8000 Hz. Each frequency represents a different pitch of sound.
6. Threshold Determination:
The test will begin at a moderate level, and the audiologist will gradually decrease the volume of the tones. The point at which you can no longer hear the tone is known as the threshold. The threshold is measured in decibels (dB). The slightest sound you can hear at each frequency is indicated.
7. Air and Bone Conduction Testing:
The PTA test assesses both air and bone conduction. Air conduction testing measures the sound travelling through the ear canal to the inner ear. Bone conduction testing evaluates how well sound Vibrations pass through the skull’s bones and into the inner ear.
Interpretation of Results:
Once the test is complete, the audiologist will interpret the results based on the thresholds obtained at different frequencies. The outcomes are plotted on an audiogram, a graphic depiction of your hearing capacity.
1. Normal Hearing:
If your thresholds fall within the normal range, your hearing functions well across all frequencies tested.
2. Conductive Hearing Loss:
When the thresholds are elevated in the bone conduction test but within the normal range for air conduction, it suggests conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is often caused by problems in the outer or middle ear, such as earwax buildup or middle ear infections.
3. Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
If the thresholds for both air and bone conduction are elevated, it indicates sensorineural hearing loss. This hearing loss is usually due to inner ear or auditory nerve damage. Ageing, exposure to loud noise, and certain medical conditions can contribute to sensorineural hearing loss.
The Pure Tone Audiometry test is an essential tool for assessing hearing abilities. By understanding the procedure and interpretation of this test, identify and understand various types of hearing loss. If you have concerns about your hearing, don’t hesitate to consult an audiologist, you can search on the internet for an audiometry test near me and find appropriate solutions for your hearing health.