Back to Health A to Z. Without routine hearing tests, there's a chance that a hearing problem could go undiagnosed for many months or even years. It's important to identify hearing problems as early as possible because they can affect your child's speech and language development, social skills and education.
Assembly version: 1. The information in this article is intended to help clinicians, employers, policymakers, and others make informed decisions about the provision of health care services. This article is intended as a reference and not as a substitute for clinical judgment.
Hearing loss can negatively influence the communication performance of individuals, who should be evaluated with suitable material and in situations of listening close to those found in everyday life. To analyze and compare the performance of patients with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss in speech recognition tests carried out in silence and with noise, according to the variables ear right and left and type of stimulus presentation. The study included 19 right-handed individuals with mild-to-moderate symmetrical bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, submitted to the speech recognition test with words in different modalities and speech test with white noise and pictures.
Pure tone audiometry PTA is the key hearing test used to identify hearing threshold levels of an individual, enabling determination of the degree, type and configuration of a hearing loss   and thus providing a basis for diagnosis and management. PTA is a subjective, behavioural measurement of a hearing threshold, as it relies on patient responses to pure tone stimuli. As with most clinical tests, calibration of the test environment, the equipment and the stimuli to ISO standards is needed before testing proceeds.
It is estimated that by over million people — or one in every ten people — will have disabling hearing loss. Approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss. A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing — hearing thresholds of 25 dB or better in both ears — is said to have hearing loss.
Editor's Note: This is a transcript of an AudiologyOnline live seminar. Please download supplemental course materials. Speech is the auditory stimulus through which we communicate.
Hearing loss can be defined based on the general type of hearing loss conductive or sensorineural and the location of the dysfunction. Conductive hearing loss typically occurs due to dysfunction of the outer or middle earwhich prevents transmission of sound waves from reaching the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing losson the other hand, occurs due to dysfunction of the inner ear or auditory nerve, which prevents neuronal transmission to the brain.
Hearing tests measure how well you are able to hear. Normal hearing happens when sound waves travel into your ear, causing your eardrum to vibrate. The vibration moves the waves farther into the ear, where it triggers nerve cells to send sound information to your brain.
The prevalence of hearing loss varies with age, affecting at least 25 percent of patients older than 50 years and more than 50 percent of those older than 80 years. Adolescents and young adults represent groups in which the prevalence of hearing loss is increasing and may therefore benefit from screening. If offered, screening can be performed periodically by asking the patient or family if there are perceived hearing problems, or by using clinical office tests such as whispered voice, finger rub, or audiometry.