What is the Difference in a Screening and a Hearing Test?

man getting a hearing test

Today, almost everyone is leading a busy life. This has led to postponing most, if not all, crucial activities such as health checkups. Regardless of how busy you are, you must prioritize your health by eating right, exercising and going for regular health checks.

Perhaps, most importantly, you may want to consider getting your ears checked. Here is what you stand to gain from such a checkup:

  • It can improve your social relationships.
  • It can help detect other health issues whose primary symptom is hearing loss.
  • It can help you remain at peace by removing the uncertainty of suspected hearing loss.
  • You may start hearing sounds you tend to miss a lot.

Sometimes, one may get confused as to whether they should get a screening or a hearing test. If you are not sure about these two terminologies, here is the difference between screening and hearing tests.


This is a basic test to determine if you have hearing loss. Hearing screening can help determine if a patient needs a more in-depth examination or not. It is advisable for babies to get screened immediately after birth or before they leave the hospital. If not, a parent should ensure they get screened no later than three months.

How it Gets Conducted

The first step in hearing screening is risk assessment and looking at the hearing history. This may include checking whether the parents of a child have a hearing loss history and looking at birth conditions such as temporal bone anomalies. It may also involve asking a parent, teacher or caregiver to report any complaints of hearing loss.

The next step is visual inspection using an otoscope, followed by a pure tone screening conducted using a pure tone audiometer. Pure tone threshold screening will also get conducted, but this step is optional. Lastly, an environmental noise level check gets performed.

Hearing Test

Now and then, it is vital to get a hearing test. Your audiologist may suggest this to ensure your ears are functional. Besides, if you suspect you have hearing loss, you should consider getting a hearing test. A whole process can take about 30 minutes, depending on the kind of test your audiologist will perform.

How it Gets Conducted

There are various tests to check your ability to hear sounds clearly. The first and most common hearing test is a speech test. This test involves determining how well you hear and repeat words. 

Another hearing test is tympanometry which involves evaluating the condition of the middle ear. It also checks the movement of your eardrum by pushing air into your ear. An audiologist will use tympanometry to conduct the test and the results will get displayed on a tympanogram which uses graphs. 

Finally, your audiologist may suggest an acoustic reflex to determine if tiny muscles in your ear will react to any sound. Other hearing tests are auditory brainstem response and otoacoustic emissions, to mention a few.

With the help of an audiologist, you can have a normal life in case you get diagnosed with hearing loss. Ensure you consider getting a screening and hearing test for early treatment.