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Hearing Loss (cont.)

Exams and Tests

In most medical offices or in the emergency department, doctors do not have access to equipment to directly test your hearing (an audiometer). In these settings the doctor will most likely evaluate your hearing with a tuning fork. The examination may include the following:

  • Each ear will be tested separately to see if you can hear the sound coming from a tuning fork. The tuning fork will also be placed on top of or in the front of your head to assess on which side the sound may be louder.
  • The ear canal and tympanic membrane will be inspected with an otoscope (a special instrument with a light and a tip to look into the ear canal).
  • The nose, nasopharynx (the part of your throat that your ears drain into, located just above your soft palate), and upper respiratory tract usually will be carefully examined.
  • A general neurologic exam, which includes tests of the nerves that control movement, sensation, and reflexes, will be done.
  • If a process inside the brain (such as an acoustic neuroma) is suspected, a CT scan or MRI of the brain may be performed.
  • If an infection, vascular problem, or drug interaction is suspected, blood tests may be performed.
  • Tympanometry may be indicated if a problem with the tympanic membrane (eardrum) is suspected. This test evaluates the ability of the tympanic membrane to move and the middle ear’s ability to receive sound waves.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/10/2015
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