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10 Essential Facts You Need to Know About Audiometry Test: Unlock Better Hearing

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What is an Audiometry Test?


A healthcare professional conducts an audiometry test on a female patient wearing headphones, who is seated next to a computer screen displaying audiogram results. On the desk, there are two hearing aids, indicating a comprehensive hearing assessment in a clinical setting. 

An audiometry test measures a person’s hearing sensitivity across different frequencies, serving as a primary tool for identifying the type and degree of hearing loss. These tests are crucial for anyone looking to address hearing concerns, as they provide the foundational data necessary for any further intervention. By understanding the nature and extent of hearing loss, individuals can approach their hearing health with confidence and informed expectations.

Types of Audiometry Tests


Audiometry encompasses several tests, each assessing different hearing aspects:

Pure Tone Audiometry:


Pure Tone Audiometry is a fundamental hearing test used to identify hearing threshold levels of an individual, enabling the determination of the degree, type, and configuration of a hearing loss. This test is essential for diagnosing auditory disorders and is a cornerstone of audiological evaluation. Here are detailed insights and suggestions for understanding and conducting

Understanding Pure Tone Audiometry


Purpose and Importance: Pure Tone Audiometry measures an individual’s hearing sensitivity across a range of frequencies, typically from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz. The results help in identifying the quietest sound an individual can hear at each frequency, providing a detailed profile of their hearing capabilities.

Components of the Test:

  • Air Conduction Testing: Sounds are presented through headphones or insert earphones, assessing the entire auditory pathway from the outer ear to the inner ear, including the auditory nerve.
  • Bone Conduction Testing: A bone conductor is placed on the mastoid bone behind the ear, directly stimulating the inner ear, bypassing the outer and middle ears. This helps to differentiate between sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.


  1. Preparation: Ensure the testing environment is sound-treated to minimize ambient noise. Calibrate the audiometer regularly to maintain accuracy.
  2. Instructions: Clearly explain the test procedure to the patient, emphasizing the importance of responding to the softest tones they can hear.
  3. Threshold Seeking: Start at a frequency that is easily heard, typically 1000 Hz, and present tones at descending intensity levels until the patient no longer responds, then increase the level until the tone is detected again. Repeat this process across the necessary frequencies for both air and bone conduction.
  4. Recording Results: Plot the patient’s responses on an audiogram, marking the air and bone conduction threshold levels.

Tips for Effective Testing

  • Patient Engagement: Engage the patient throughout the test, ensuring they understand the importance of their responses and maintaining their attention and cooperation.
  • Frequency Selection: Test the octave frequencies from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz, and include inter-octave frequencies (e.g., 3000 Hz and 6000 Hz) if there is a significant drop in hearing sensitivity between adjacent octaves.
  • Masking: When a significant air-bone gap exists or when testing one ear may present sound to the opposite ear, apply appropriate masking to ensure accurate results.
  • Reinforcement: For children or individuals who may have difficulty understanding the test process, use visual or tangible reinforcements to encourage responses.

Interpreting Results

  • Type of Hearing Loss: Compare air and bone conduction thresholds to determine if the hearing loss is sensorineural, conductive, or mixed.
  • Degree of Hearing Loss: Use the average of thresholds at key frequencies (500 Hz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, and 4 kHz) to classify the degree of hearing loss (mild, moderate, severe, profound).
  • Configuration of Hearing Loss: Analyze the pattern of hearing thresholds across frequencies to describe the hearing loss configuration (flat, sloping, rising, notch, etc.).



Pure Tone Audiometry is a critical tool for audiologists, providing a detailed understanding of an individual’s hearing loss. Accurate testing and interpretation of results are vital for formulating effective management and treatment plans, including selecting and fitting hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other rehabilitative measures. By tailoring interventions to the specific characteristics of an individual’s hearing loss, audiologists can significantly improve their patients’ quality of life and communication abilities.

Speech Audiometry Test:

The Speech Audiometry Test is a crucial component of audiometric evaluations, focusing on an individual’s ability to detect and understand speech rather than just pure tones. This test simulates real-world listening environments more closely than pure tone audiometry, making it essential for assessing the practical implications of hearing loss on everyday communication. Here are detailed insights and suggestions for understanding and conducting a Speech Audiometry Test:

Understanding Speech Audiometry Test


Purpose and Importance: Speech Audiometry is designed to measure both the threshold level for speech (the softest speech sounds that can be heard) and speech discrimination or understanding ability. It helps in determining how effectively an individual can comprehend speech at various volumes, providing crucial information for diagnosing hearing loss and tailoring hearing aid settings or other therapeutic interventions.

Components of the Test:

  • Speech Detection Threshold (SDT) or Speech Recognition Threshold (SRT): This measures the faintest speech that can be detected half the time. It’s usually determined using spondaic words (two-syllable words with equal stress on each syllable) to ensure the sounds are recognized as speech.
  • Speech Discrimination Score (SDS) or Speech Recognition Score: This assesses the ability to understand speech at a comfortable loudness level correctly. Lists of phonetically balanced (PB) words are used, and the percentage of correctly repeated words provides the score.


  1. Preparation: Ensure the test environment is quiet and the patient is comfortable with the headphones or speakers used.
  2. Calibration: Speech materials should be calibrated to ensure the sound levels are accurate and consistent.
  3. Threshold Testing: Begin with presenting speech materials at a level expected to be just audible to the patient, gradually adjusting the volume to find the threshold level.
  4. Discrimination Testing: Once the threshold is established, increase the volume to a comfortable listening level for the patient, typically 30-40 dB above the SRT, and then present the list of words for repetition.

Tips for Effective Testing

  • Choose Appropriate Material: Use age and language-appropriate speech materials to ensure fair and accurate tests.
  • Consider Patient’s Comfort: Adjust the headphone or speaker volume to a comfortable level to avoid discomfort or anxiety, which could affect the results.
  • Account for Background Noise: If possible, assess speech understanding in noise, as this provides valuable information on how the individual copes in more challenging listening environments.
  • Explain the Process: Before starting, explain the test procedure to the patient, emphasizing the importance of attempting to repeat every word heard, even if they are unsure.

Interpreting Results

  • Analyzing Thresholds and Scores: The SRT should closely match the pure tone average (PTA) for frequencies 500 Hz, 1 kHz, and 2 kHz in cases of sensorineural hearing loss. Significant discrepancies might indicate a problem with auditory processing or a non-organic hearing loss.
  • Speech Discrimination: High speech discrimination scores indicate that the patient can understand speech well when it is loud enough. Poor scores may suggest damage to the auditory nerve or central auditory pathways and can influence the choice of hearing aid technology or signal processing strategies.



The Speech Audiometry Test offers invaluable insights into a patient’s hearing and communication capabilities. By carefully conducting and interpreting this test, clinicians can provide targeted recommendations that significantly improve the patient’s ability to engage in conversations and effectively manage their hearing loss. This personalized approach ensures that interventions are not only based on the degree of hearing loss but also on the individual’s unique communication needs and lifestyle.

The Importance of Audiometry Tests

Audiometry tests are not merely diagnostic. They are the foundation for creating effective, personalized treatment plans. Expert audiologists leverage these tests to accurately diagnose hearing conditions and develop management strategies that cater to the individual’s specific needs, enhancing the quality of life for those with hearing loss.

How to Prepare for an Audiometry Test


Preparation for an audiometry test is straightforward but important. Avoid exposure to loud noises prior to the test to prevent temporary threshold shift, which could affect results. Ensure your ears are clear of wax, as blockages can influence test outcomes. Understanding the test process can help alleviate any anxiety, making the experience more comfortable.

Understanding Your Audiometry Test Results


Interpreting audiometry test results is critical. The audiogram produced from Pure Tone Audiometry displays your hearing thresholds across various frequencies, indicating any deviations from normal hearing sensitivity. Types of hearing loss identified through these tests, such as sensorineural or conductive, directly influence the treatment approach. For instance, sensorineural loss may lead to considering hearing aids or cochlear implants, while conductive loss might be addressed through medical or surgical interventions.

The Role of Expert Audiologists


Audiologists are central to the effective assessment and management of hearing loss. Their expertise ensures that audiometry tests are conducted accurately and that the results are interpreted correctly, facilitating the development of tailored treatment plans. Their guidance is invaluable in navigating the journey towards better hearing.

Cost Of Audiometry Test

The cost of audiometry tests in India, ranging from 500 to 1500 Indian Rupees, is influenced by various factors contributing to this price range’s breadth. Understanding these factors can help individuals anticipate the expenses associated with obtaining an audiometric evaluation and appreciate the value of these assessments in diagnosing and managing hearing loss.

Factors Influencing the Cost


Type of Facility

  • Government or Public Hospitals: These facilities often offer audiometry tests at lower costs or even free of charge as part of their public health services. The waiting times might be longer due to higher demand.
  • Private Clinics and Hospitals: Private facilities typically charge more for audiometry tests, reflecting the higher quality of service, shorter waiting times, and possibly more advanced testing equipment.

Geographic Location

  • Urban vs. Rural: Costs can vary significantly between urban and rural areas. Urban centers might have higher prices due to increased overhead costs for the facilities, but they also tend to offer more advanced diagnostic technologies.
  • Region: Different states or regions in India may have varying price ranges for audiometry tests due to differences in economic conditions and the availability of specialized healthcare services.

Complexity and Type of Tests Conducted

  • Basic Pure Tone Audiometry: This fundamental test is generally the least expensive component of an audiometric evaluation.
  • Comprehensive Audiometric Evaluation: A full assessment that includes pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, tympanometry, as per individual’s hearing health and are essential for complex diagnoses.
  • Advanced Diagnostic Tests: Some conditions may require more sophisticated tests, such as ABR, which can significantly increase the cost.

Expertise of the Audiologist

  • The qualifications and experience of the audiologist conducting the test can also affect the cost. Highly qualified and experienced audiologists might charge more for their services, reflecting their expertise in diagnosing and managing a wide range of hearing disorders.

Insurance and Healthcare Plans

  • Some health insurance plans may cover the cost of audiometry tests, either partially or in full. The extent of coverage can significantly affect the out-of-pocket expenses for the individual. It’s advisable to check with one’s health insurance provider for details on coverage.

Understanding the Value


While the cost of audiometry tests in India may vary, it’s important to recognize the value these tests provide. Early diagnosis and intervention for hearing loss can significantly improve an individual’s quality of life, educational and employment opportunities, and social interactions. Investing in a thorough hearing evaluation is a crucial step towards effective management of hearing loss.

For those concerned about the cost, exploring different facilities, inquiring about insurance coverage, and considering government or subsidized clinics can help make audiometry tests more accessible. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that individuals who need these evaluations can receive them, regardless of their financial situation.

FAQs About Audiometry Tests


This section will address common questions regarding audiometry tests, including their purpose, the experience during testing, how to prepare, and what the results mean. It aims to demystify the process and provide reassurance to those who may be apprehensive about undergoing hearing assessments.



Audiometry tests are indispensable in the diagnosis and management of hearing loss. This guide emphasizes the tests’ significance, encouraging individuals to seek evaluation and embrace the treatments that can significantly improve their quality of life. With expert audiologists at the helm, the path to better hearing is both clear and attainable.

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