Diagnostic tests in audiology 

Pure tone audiometry

Duration: 20 minutes
Description: You will wear headphones and press a button each time you hear a bleep sound.
Purpose: Hearing test that checks the thresholds of hearing across a range of frequencies (pitches).

Tympanometry

Duration: 1 minute
Description: You will have a soft sensor placed into the ear then feel an air pressure change occur in the ear canal.
Purpose: Auditory test that checks the movement of the ear drum and middle ear system.

Speech audiometry

Duration: 30 minutes
Description: You will listen to words coming through headphones and repeat them back to the Audiologist. The words are presented at different loudness throughout the test.
Purpose: Hearing test that checks the ability to recognise speech.

Acoustic reflex testing

Duration: 20 minutes
Description: You will listen to loud bleep sounds in both ears while sitting quietly.

Purpose: Hearing test that checks the nerve signals to and from the brain from the cochlea.

Oto-acoustic emissions

Duration: 20 minutes
Description: You will listen to clicks and hum sounds while sitting quietly.
Purpose: Hearing test that checks the outer hair cell function in the cochlea.

Auditory brainstem response

Duration: 30 minutes
Description: You will listen to loud clicks while laying down. This test requires you to lay still and relax for 20 minutes.
Purpose: Hearing test that checks the function of the hearing nerves.

Auditory processing tests

Duration: 1:30 hours
Description: You will listen to sounds or speech in particular patterns and repeat what you hear.
Purpose: Hearing test that quantifies the individual’s ability to recognise non-speech sounds or speech in noise.

Cortical evoked response audiometry

Duration: 1:30 hours
Description: You will listen to bleeps while sitting in chair reading a book.
Purpose: Hearing test that checks the function of the cortex of the brain while hearing sounds.

Caloric test

Duration: 1 hour
Description: You will be stimulated to feel dizzy while laying down wearing a pair of eye-recording goggles in the dark. The stimulus is warm or cool water irrigated into the ear canal. The test comprises 4 irrigations with rest breaks in between, each irrigation gives rise to 2 minutes of dizziness that completely resolves afterwards. You should not feel dizzy once the test has been completed.
Purpose: Balance test that checks the function arising from individual areas of the vestibular system.

Eye Movement and rotating chair test (ENG or VNG recording)

Duration: 1 hour
Description: The test is in several parts. You will use your eyes to follow the movement of small lights while sitting in the dark, you will sit on a rotating chair that moves slowly round in a circle, and you will look at a striped black and white surrounding as it moves. You should not feel dizzy once the test has been completed.
Purpose: Balance test that checks if the eyes can follow targets and move normally in response to chair rotations.

Posturography

Duration: 20 minutes
Description: You will stand on a platform with a visual surround. At times, the platform may tilt or the surround may move and your stability is measured with eyes open and closed. You wear a harness to keep you safe.
Purpose: Balance test that checks your strategy to maintain balance in different conditions.

Electrocochleography

Duration: 30 minutes
Description: You will listen to a loud sound whilst laying down. A needle containing a sensor is placed through the eardrum by a Doctor.
Purpose: Audiovestibular test that checks the function of the cochlea and auditory nerve.

Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT)

Duration: 20 minutes
Description: You will sit focusing on a target whilst the Audiologist moves your head quickly from side to side or up and down.
Purpose: Balance test that checks how well the vestibular ocular reflex compensates for a change in head position.

Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (oVEMP or cVEMP)

Duration: 30 minutes
Description: You will listen to loud clicks whilst sitting or laying.
Purpose: Balance test that checks a muscle response mediated by the vestibular system. It provides ear-specific information about otolith and nerve function.

Dix Hallpike Test or Roll Test

Duration: 5 minutes
Description: You will be laid down quickly from a sitting position, or your head moved to one side while laying down. Occasionally people feel dizzy in response to the movement , which passes after 30 seconds or so.
Purpose: Balance test that checks for positional vertigo relating to crystals floating around the balance organ (benign positional paroxysmal vertigo or BPPV).

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