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Can You Pass A Hearing Test but Still Have Problems Hearing?

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a middle aged man is being administered a hearing test

It’s been a few years, so you’ve decided to book a hearing test with your audiologist. You may not remember what to expect or you may be concerned you have developed hearing loss since your previous test. You visit the audiologist, complete the test and pass it. This confuses you because you definitely don’t think your hearing is as good as it once was. 

So, this raises an important question; can you pass a hearing test but still have problems with your hearing? 

The short answer is yes, you can. It’s totally possible for an individual to have a hearing test and pass with flying colors, yet still experience hearing loss. If that confuses you, then don’t worry, we’re about to explain everything in more detail. 

What happens during a hearing test?

Those of you that have had hearing tests will know they all follow the same pattern. Your hearing health history is taken by the audiologist, they do a check inside your ears, and they put you through two – sometimes three – tests. 

The first test is called pure tone audiometry, and you have to listen to tones at various pitches and volumes. You’re instructed to indicate when you hear the tone, so the audiologist knows the very softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies. 

Then, you have speech audiometry, which measures your ability to understand speech in conversations. You wear headphones and are played samples of conversations at different sound levels. You will have to repeat back what is said, and the audiologist matches the accuracy. 

Sometimes tympanometry is conducted to check the pressure and reflexive response of your eardrum and middle ear muscles. 

It’s important to note that your audiologist will have specific scales or scores that determine a pass or fail. But, while you get given either pass/fail, you will fall into a point on a much longer scale. Passing doesn’t mean you have perfect hearing. It just means that your hearing is at a point where you don’t need to take any measures to treat it. So, you can be close to failing, but still, technically pass. 

Consequently, you can still have problems hearing certain things, or you ask people to repeat themselves, but your hearing loss hasn’t reached a point where action is required. You can still live a comfortable life without needing hearing aids. 

Can you cheat on a hearing test?

Some people will pass a hearing test despite having terrible hearing. Often, this is either by cheating on purpose or cheating by accident. 

Usually, this comes during the speech audiometry. Many people will purposely try and deduce what’s being said, even if they know they can’t hear it properly. It can be easy to formulate a sentence if you hear one or two words. Your brain just fills in the blanks. So, this can give a skewed score that leads to a pass, even though you’ve not actually heard the speech correctly. 

People cheat on purpose when they’re ashamed or worried about having hearing loss. Needless to say, there’s no point in doing this as you’ll just hurt yourself by having hearing loss that needs to be treated and avoiding treatment!

Secondly, some people cheat by accident. You can randomly indicate that you’ve heard a tone at the right time, and you can accidentally recite a conversation by pure luck. Again, this makes your results look a lot better than they actually are. 

So, you can pass a hearing test but still have hearing problems in more than one way. Getting a passing grade can still mean your hearing isn’t as good as it once was. It just means that you can live your life as normal and that you don’t need treatment just yet. But you should start taking precautions to prevent it from getting worse – like turning the volume down on the TV and wearing hearing protection if you’re around loud noises. 

Similarly, you can pass by either intentionally or accidentally skewing the results of your test. Never do this on purpose as you won’t gain anything, but you can lose out on essential treatment. If you feel like your results are way better than they should be, then ask for another test just to be sure. 

Book a hearing test with us today

At Brentwood Hearing Center, we can provide you with a comprehensive hearing test to see the state of your hearing health. If you’re interested in learning more about your hearing health, then feel free to call 615-377-0420, and we can discuss things further with you.