Your Guide to Types of Hearing Tests

Author thumbnail Beth Newbould  |  Published 29 January 2024  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 5 mins read

An audiologist examining the ear of a female patient.

Hearing tests are an essential part of maintaining good hearing health. They help identify various aspects of hearing loss, and help to understand the physical health of your ears.

There are different types of hearing tests, each serving a unique purpose. From the audiometry to the otoacoustic emissions test, these assessments play a crucial role in evaluating hearing sensitivity across different frequencies and assessing the health of the inner ear. 

By understanding the available options, you can feel empowered to take proactive steps to monitor and preserve your hearing. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of hearing tests and how they contribute to your overall hearing health.

Types of Hearing Tests

There are many different types of hearing tests. The purpose of hearing tests is to assess your ability to perceive and interpret sounds. 

Hearing tests are typically conducted by audiologists or hearing healthcare professionals using specialised equipment and techniques. These tests aim to measure hearing sensitivity, clarity, and comprehension. They can help to identify hearing loss or impairment, and help determine the cause of any hearing difficulties. They can also offer important information for developing treatment plans, such as ear wax cleaning, hearing aids or cochlear implants. 

Making sure you book regular hearing tests is particularly important for those who are at higher risk of hearing loss, such as those with a family history of hearing problems, individuals who work in noisy environments, or those who have had ear injuries or infections. Hearing tests help with early detection and intervention. They establish a baseline for hearing levels, improve communication and quality of life, and they can help to prevent further hearing damage.

An audiologist putting headphones on a patient for a hearing assessment.

Pure-tone Audiometry

Pure-tone Audiometry (PTA) is one of the most common and fundamental hearing tests. It’s used to measure your hearing across a range of frequencies. It is designed to determine the softest (also known as threshold) sounds that a person can hear at different frequencies (typically ranging from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz) which can help to identify the extent of your hearing and the type of hearing loss you may have. The results from a PTA test are crucial for prescribing and programming hearing aids, as they highlight your specific hearing needs to your audiologist.

During the test, you will be seated in a soundproof room to limit noise interference. You will wear a pair of headphones connected to an audiometer – a piece of equipment used to produce pure tones at various frequencies. When a sound is played, you will press a button or raise your hand to signal that you heard it. The results are then plotted on a graph that shows the threshold levels for each ear at different frequencies. This is called an audiogram.

A patient having a speech audiometry test during her hearing assessment.

Speech Audiometry

A Speech Audiometry test is designed to evaluate your ability to understand and process speech sounds. The procedure is similar to the pure tone audiometry test – you will be seated in a soundproof room wearing headphones or using a freefield speaker. Then, the audiologist will play you a range of recorded speech signals at different volumes. You will then be asked to repeat the words or respond when they hear them.

The results of this test are calculated as a percentage of words correctly identified out of the total words presented. It gives your audiologist a good indication of your hearing ability and determines what kind of treatment you may need.

A close-up of a tympanometric exam.


A tympanometric exam is used to assess the function and health of your middle ear – specifically the eardrum. This provides valuable information to your audiologist as they can identify your middle ear issue and provide a suitable solution. One solution could be hearing aids or in some cases, ventilation tubes.

The procedure measures how your eardrum moves. A soft rubber tip is positioned at the entrance to your ear canal and gently seals the ear canal. The machine emits a soft tone and slight air pressure within your ear to measure how your eardrum moves. Results are automatically recorded onto a graph called a tympanogram. This provides valuable information to your audiologist as they can identify any abnormalities.

The Hearing Care Partnership Offers Full Hearing Assessments

Our full free hearing assessment will give you a comprehensive and detailed overview of your hearing and hearing health, performed by our professional and caring audiologists. Your audiologist will ask about you, your life and what’s important to you. They need to know your relevant medical history and will look to guide you through a variety of tests that include otoscopy, tympanometry, pure tone audiometry, and speech tests.

We’ll talk through your results with you, whether you need any treatment, and if hearing aids could be beneficial.

Did you know about the The Hearing Care Partnership Online Hearing Test?

If you’re concerned about your hearing or want to take a test, we also have an online hearing test. The results aren’t a substitute for a full hearing assessment but they can give an indication on whether you need to see a professional about your hearing health.  It’s free and only takes 5 minutes.

Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t have hearing issues or a history of hearing issues in your family, it’s important to get your hearing checked regularly. The Hearing Care Partnership offers free hearing assessments to give you a full, detailed look at your hearing health and we also offer many options for treatment including hearing aids, wax cleaning, and hearing protection all tailored to you and your needs.

Book your free hearing assessment with The Hearing Care Partnership to get started.