Serving the Hearing Healthcare Needs of the AK Valley Since 1958

Can You Pass a Hearing Test But Still Have Problems Hearing?

a man is confused about hearing loss during his hearing test

If you have been experiencing hearing loss, it is essential to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. An audiologist will be able to perform a hearing test to see if your hearing is at a typical level. While the hearing test is designed to assess your hearing, the results of the test are not a simple pass or fail. Many people think of hearing tests as an assessment of your ability to hear sounds at a certain level of volume. However, a hearing test is far more complex than that. 

It is possible to pass a hearing test but still experience hearing loss. This is mainly because there are many different kinds of hearing loss. It is essential that you visit an audiologist so that they can establish the type of hearing loss that you are experiencing. 

Types of hearing loss

Here are some of the types of hearing loss that can be detected by an audiologist during a hearing test:

Sensorineural hearing loss

People with sensorineural hearing loss typically find that the sounds they hear are muffled, and they may not be able to hear quieter sounds. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a damaged hearing nerve or because of damage to the hair cells that are found inside the inner ear.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs as a result of sounds being unable to move through the outer or middle ear to reach the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss can occur as a result of a blockage within the ear. If you have conductive hearing loss, you may find that sounds are muffled and seem quiet.

The hearing test will also be able to determine the level of hearing loss that you have. Your level of hearing loss could be rated as either mild, moderate, severe or profound.

The results of your hearing test will show whether you have hearing loss in your left ear, your right ear or both ears. Symmetrical hearing loss means that both ears have a similar level of hearing loss. Asymmetrical hearing loss means that the level of hearing loss is substantially different in each ear.

Other reasons for hearing loss

If your hearing test shows that your hearing is at a typical level, and doesn’t detect any loss of hearing, there may be a different cause for the hearing loss you are experiencing. Here are some of the reasons why the hearing test may not have detected your hearing loss:

Physical causes of hearing loss

If the hearing test itself does not detect a loss of hearing, an audiologist may be able to attribute the loss to a physical cause. 

There are several physical causes for hearing loss, but the most common causes include ear wax that has become impacted and growths forming in the ear. Certain medications can also affect hearing as a side effect. Ibuprofen and large quantities of aspirin are thought to cause hearing loss as a known side effect. However, it is crucial that you consult a health care professional before making changes to your medication. Hearing loss that has a physical cause can often be temporary.

Neurological causes of hearing loss

Just as physical causes of hearing loss may not show up on a hearing test, the same applies to neurological reasons too. Auditory neuropathy is a neurological cause of hearing loss. People with auditory neuropathy may not register as having a hearing loss on their audiogram. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t experience hearing loss at all. People with auditory neuropathy may not be able to understand speech clearly and may miss parts of a conversation.

The reason that auditory neuropathy can remain undetected during a hearing test is that sounds are successfully detected, but the sound is not effectively sent from the ear to the brain.

There are various causes of auditory neuropathy, some cases are caused by damaged auditory neurons, while other people may experience auditory neuropathy as a result of gene mutations.

As you can see, a hearing test is not as simple as passing or failing an exam. There are many types of hearing loss, and sometimes the reason for hearing loss isn’t immediately apparent on an audiogram. People experience hearing loss in different ways, but your first port of call should always be scheduling an appointment with an audiologist.

If you would like expert advice on your hearing or to find out more about Rametta Audiology & Hearing Aid Center call at Tarentum: (724) 224-6811 or Vandergrift: (724) 567-7381.