Hearing Acuity Screening: Revisiting the Basics

Posted by:gulf onJuly 1, 2019

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Hearing Acuity Definition

Hearing acuity is associated with one’s hearing acuteness. To define it in detail, it refers to an individual’s ability to perceive low-intensity sounds, differentiate between two sounds based on frequency or intensity, or recognize where the sound is coming from.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

While hearing acuity declines together with a person’s age, hearing thresholds vary considerably. Adults aged 50 and older are more prone to suffering from hearing acuity problems. Meanwhile, hearing loss in toddlers or kids may be classified as congenital or acquired. This is due to existing medical conditions, a wide range of environmental factors and exposure to occupational noise, to name a few. Noise, or unwanted noise, as referred to by some, is said to be one of the most common occupational hazards in US workplaces.


Hearing Acuity Screening Test

There are a lot of hearing acuity screening test options that your audiologist may recommend; choosing which one is best for you should be a matter of careful consideration.

For adults, they are usually asked to wear earphones. Then they listen to short tones played in varying volumes and pitches into one ear at a time. This kind of test identifies three possibilities: whether you can hear on one hear better, whether you can hear high- or low-pitched sounds, and whether you can hear quiet or loud sounds.

For children, since they cannot express themselves fully yet, different tests cater to different age groups. For newborn babies, they may be evaluated using the evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE) and/or auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests. Babies undergo behavioral audiometry, and toddlers may be assessed using play audiometry or visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA). Similar to adults, an older child may already be ready for pure tone audiometry or tympanometry (also referred to as impedance audiometry).

Hearing acuity screening is an vital factor if you or a family member is suffering from hearing loss. It can range from mild to severe hearing loss; but working to find solutions in its early stages will allow the person with hearing loss deal with it better later on in life.

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