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Hearing Assessments and Diagnostic Testing

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Individuals who suspect that they are experiencing hearing loss need to have their hearing evaluated by an audiologist. Most insurance providers require that a medical doctor order this evaluation. You can fax the order to the audiologist's office from your primary care physician’s office.

Basic Hearing Assessment

A basic 30-minute hearing assessment consists of pure tones and speech materials, with specialized hearing tests performed as needed.

Audiologists at UPMC's Center for Audiology and Hearing Aids work closely with otolaryngologists at the UPMC Eye and Ear Institute and other health care providers to determine the best plan of treatment.

Diagnostic Hearing Tests

Brainstem evoked response test

The brainstem evoked response (BSER) test is a 60-minute exam to obtain more information about the hearing nerve. While you relax, a computer measures how your hearing nerve responds to sounds.

Distortion product otoacoustic emission testing

This test checks outer hair cell function. It is useful for pinpointing the part of the ear that may be damaged.

Immittance test battery

Immittance testing uses tympanometry and acoustic reflexes to change the pressure in the ear canal. It records the movement of the eardrum in response to the change in pressure.

Read about tympanometry in our Health Library. »


Electrocochleography stimulates the ear with sound to examine the response of the cochlea and the auditory nerve.

Facial electromyography

Facial electromyography records electrical activity in the facial muscles.

After Your Hearing Evaluation

The audiologist will send a report to your physician. The audiologist will explain the results and indicate whether you have a condition that should be treated by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician — an otolaryngologist — or whether you have non-medically treatable hearing loss (permanent hearing loss).

For patients who have hearing loss caused by factors that cannot be treated by a medical doctor, an audiologist may recommend hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.

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