Hearing tests

Simple test

Whisper a number, or rub fingers together in one ear while blocking the other ear with a finger.

Rinne’s test

Place a vibrating tuning fork (256 or 512 hz) on the mastoid process (to assess bone conduction), then hold just lateral to the external ear. Which is the louder sound? Air conduction should be better than bone. If bone conduction is louder, there is conductive deafness in the ear.

Weber’s test

Place a strongly vibrating tuning fork on the middle of the forehead. Is the sound louder on one side, or equal?

  • If conductive deafness in the left ear, it will be heard loudest on the left.
  • If sensorineural deafness in the left ear, it will be heard loudest on the right.

Causes of conductive deafness

  • wax
  • otosclerosis
  • otits media
  • glue ear

Causes of sensorineural deafness

  • presbyacusis
  • meniere’s disease
  • paroxysmal vertigo
  • meningitis
  • acute labyrinthitis
  • head injury
  • acoustic neuroma
  • ms
  • paget’s disease
  • excessive noise
  • aminoglycosides
  • furosemide
  • lead
  • rare congenital syndromes
  • maternal infections during pregnancy.
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