You are here: Home Employee Health Testing FAQ How does Hearing / Audiometric testing work ?

Audiometric testing has very specific protocols (procedures), but in plain english, the basic process of a hearing test is fairly easy to explain.

In short, we pick a specific set of frequencies, and then 'play with the volume'.   For any given frequency, we turn the volume up or down until we can figure out how high we had to turn up the volume before you could hear that tone.  In audiometric testing this is referred to as a 'threshold'.

If you were to look at a set of Hearing test results, you would see a set of numbers (scores) for the audiometric test.  So a score of 50 means that the volume had to be turned up to 50 decibels before the employee heard the tone.   Above 50 they heard it, below 50 they didn't.

Assuming that you were the one being tested, the process would be roughly as follows:1

1. We start by playing a tone at given volume.  This is usually a tone at one specific frequency, referred to as a "pure" tone.

2. If the employee hears the tone, we lower the volume.  If they don't we raise the volume.

3. If we're raising he volume, we do so until the employee hears the tone. If he heard it, we lower the volume until he stops hearing it.

4. We repeat the process of steps 1 to 3, and our audiometers don't lock in the result until it's been repeated 3 times.

The standard protocol for hearing testing uses 7 frequencies repeated for the left and right ear.  The end result of a hearing test is a series of scores that represent how far the volume had to be turned up for each frequency before it was heard.

The low score of zero (0) represents perfect hearing, the high score of 90 represents a profound hearing loss.

The frequencies used in the hearing test are:

500 hz 1000 hz 2000 hz 3000 hz 4000 hz 6000 hz 8000 hz

the Low Frequencies

(think fog horns)

the 'speech' frequencies

(where most of human speech occurs)

the high 

1. We know explanation is not 100% technically accurate.  We have simplified the process for the purposes of this explanation.

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