An audiometry exam tests how well your hearing functions. It tests both the intensity and the tone of sounds, balance issues, and other issues related to the function of the inner ear. Patients who have a tumor in or around the ear may undergo audiometry testing to determine whether hearing loss has occurred or to monitor their hearing before and after surgery. It is also used to evaluate whether hearing aids or surgery may improve one's hearing.

The audiometry tests are conducted in a quiet soundproof room (Fig. 3). Earphones will be placed on your head. You will be asked to sit still and not talk. The earphones are connected to a machine that will deliver the tones and different sounds of speech to your ears, one ear at a time. The audiologist will ask you to raise your hand when you hear a sound. For example, if you hear a sound with your left ear, raise your left hand; if you hear a sound with your right ear, raise your right hand. At some facilities, you may be asked to push a button or make some other sign that you have recognized a sound. The audiologist will record each tone at the lowest possible volume that you were able to hear it. Before or after the general audiometry test, tuning forks are also used to conduct the Rinne and Weber tests. Each test evaluates the potential for different kinds of hearing loss.

Audiometry tests can detect whether you have sensorineural hearing loss (damage to the nerve or cochlea) or conductive hearing loss (damage to the eardrum or the tiny ossicle bones).

Audiometry is noninvasive and carries no risk. It requires no special preparation. All you have to do is show up to your appointment on time and follow the audiologist’s instructions.