Key Points about an Audiological Exam

  • An audiological exam is a hearing test to determine if you have hearing damage.
  • Your doctor may order an audiological exam if he or she suspects you have a hearing issue. The test can determine if you have lost hearing and the severity of your condition.
  • During the exam, your doctor will perform a series of hearing tests to evaluate what you can and cannot hear. He or she will be testing for high and low pitches and loud and soft volume in both ears.
  • Hearing loss is classified in decibels. Hearing loss of up to 25 decibels is considered normal. If you have hearing loss of more than 91 decibels, you may have complete hearing loss.


An audiological exam is a diagnostic evaluation to evaluate the state of your hearing. You may need an audiological exam if you did not pass an initial hearing screening.

The evaluation can determine if hearing loss is present, and if it is present, how severe the hearing loss is. An audiological exam can also provide insight into the cause of your hearing loss and help your audiologist develop a treatment plan.

Candidates for an audiological exam

If your doctor suspects you have hearing loss, your doctor may order an audiological exam. Signs that may indicate you have hearing loss include having trouble hearing people talking in a crowded room or being told the TV or radio you are listening to is too loud.

Because hearing loss is gradual, you may not realize you may be losing your hearing.

Your doctor will determine the specific tests you need based on your age and what is known about the state of your hearing.

Expectations during an audiological exam

During the audiological exam, your doctor will ask you to wear earphones and listen to short tones played at different volumes and levels of sound pitches. Your doctor will evaluate if you can hear high-pitched, low-pitched, quiet, and loud sounds in both ears.

You may also listen to speech at different volumes. Voices will play through the earphones at different volumes. You will be asked to repeat the words that are being said. The test will be performed in a quiet or noisy room to evaluate your hearing when there is background noise.

Duration of an audiological exam

An audiological exam takes approximately 30 minutes.

Results of an audiological exam

Results from an audiological exam will show whether you have hearing loss in one or both ears and how much hearing you have lost.

Sound intensity is measured in decibels. Hearing loss up to 25 decibels is considered normal hearing. Hearing loss by the decibel level:

  • 26 to 40 decibels - mild hearing loss
  • 41 to 55 decibels - moderate hearing loss
  • 56 to 70 decibels - moderate to severe hearing loss
  • 71 to 90 decibels - severe hearing loss
  • 91 to 100 decibels - complete hearing loss

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