Audiology Diagnostic Testing

Videonystagography (VNG)

This test can take up to 90 minutes. It requires that you visualize and attend to a red light in a dark room. Instructions are given to you throughout testing. Positioning and positionals require moving you into different head positions; modifications can be made if you have restricted mobility due to neck or back issues. Calorics require warm and cool air irrigated into the ear canal for 60 seconds each. This test commonly elicits dizzy symptoms.

Tympanometry

This is a fairly quick test during which a probe is placed into your ear canal to assess middle ear function. You may feel changes in pressure.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)

A probe is placed in the ear canal and the outer hair cells of the inner ear are tested by using a series of tonal stimuli.

Puretone audiometry

This test involves a series of tonal stimuli, presented at different levels of volume, via headphones or inserts. You respond by saying “yes” or clicking a button when the stimuli is heard.

Speech audiometry

This test requires you to repeat back specific words, which are presented at different volume levels to each ear.

Conditioned play audiometry (CPA)

This test can take up to 60 minutes. Testing for children (typically ages 2 to 5) involves conditioning them to tonal and speech stimuli. Your child can be in the booth alone or with a parent, depending on age and independence. If you are in the booth with your child, you cannot give clues if a sound is presented. Your child participates in a game, such as Mr. Potato Head or building a tower, which requires multiple steps. Each time your child responds successfully to a stimuli via headphones or inserts, she adds a piece to her game.

Auditory brainstem response (ABR)

This test can take up to two hours. For infants and young children, a sleepy or quiet state is required. The exam room is usually dark and you are given time to feed or nurse your baby before testing to help the baby fall asleep. “Stickers” or electrodes are attached to the forehead and behind the ears. An insert is placed into the ear canal, and your child hears a series of “clicks” and tonal stimuli. The responses are recorded and the audiologist assesses waveforms on a computer in real time. Testing is most efficient if your child is asleep. Sometimes results can be discussed immediately following the test; however, more testing may be required to assess and interpret results.

Neurodiagnostic

This test can take up to one hour. A relaxed state is required, while you lie on an exam table in a dark room. An insert is placed into the ear canal, and electrodes are attached to the forehead and behind the ears. You hear “clicks” presented at loud levels. The responses are recorded and the audiologist assesses waveforms on a computer in real time. Testing is most efficient if you can stay quiet, still and relaxed.

Acoustic testing and tone decay

This is a quick test that requires you to sit still and be quiet. A probe mic insert is placed in the ear canal while you listen to a series of tonal stimuli varying in pitch and volume. Some tones may be loud.