Compassionate and Professional Hearing Healthcare

Why Is Pure Tone Audiometry A Common Hearing Test?

audiologist testing hearing ability in office clinic

It is vital to visit an audiologist and get a hearing test whenever you are experiencing any hearing loss. They will be able to determine the exact nature and degree of your hearing loss and offer advice accordingly. And while they are many elements of hearing tests, there is a very common one, pure-tone audiometry.

This is something that you will find and is part of almost every hearing test. Pure-tone audiometry is a standard gauging tool for hearing. This might not be the only test in hearing but is possibly the most vital one. Pure tone is the most common type of hearing test and has been around for many years. It helps detect the presence of hearing loss and establish its kind, degree, and nature.

What is pure-tone audiometry?

In pure-tone audiometry, an audiologist performs a series of undistinguished sounds at different pitches, ranging from the deepest bass to the highest treble the ears can perceive. The patient then tries to detect the location of the sound through a pair of high-quality headphones. The audiologist then utilizes this information to graph the nature of hearing loss.

What's best about this hearing test method is that the audiologist can locate the exact areas where the patient has a problem. Usually, people experiencing hearing loss have specific pitches that they have trouble perceiving. For example, they might have a problem detecting high-pitched sounds or deep bass.

When performing a pure-tone hearing test, the audiologist increases the sound volumes and asks the patient first to identify the sounds. This process then allows the audiologist to plan a hearing profile to calibrate a hearing aid for the patient. The end product of the pure tone testing is used in audiograms, which display a map that displays the hearing loss topology at different frequencies.

Why is this test prevalent?

Audiologists throughout the United States widely consider the pure-tone audiometry test because of the following reasons:

They are accurate

Since audiologists can adjust the tone the patient perceives slowly, they can carry out a highly- precise test. The tools they have allow them to dial up or down the volume of tones to determine the patients' level of hearing loss.

Audiologists can also fine-tune frequencies in tiny increments to simplify the calibration of the hearing aid's setting later. This test can help the audiologist determine if it is one or both ears that have a problem. It then helps them recommend treatments or even get further tests.


Minimum equipment is needed to perform a pure-tone test; therefore, there is little cost involved. The patients will need headphones, a noiseless environment, and computer software to provide the sounds and document the results. Also, while the equipment might need replacing over time, the test themselves are cost-effective.

Information generated

Numerous diagnoses offer a yes or no answer. However, a pure-tone audiometry test goes beyond that. They characterize the degree of the hearing loss and identify whether the patient has hearing loss.

Pure-tone tests patients' reactions to various tones, evaluating the areas where they have the most problem perceiving and where they have minor issues. There is a significant hearing loss in some cases, while in others, there is a particular frequency that the patient cannot perceive.


Generally, the quicker the test, the better. This means that you will get an earlier diagnosis and treatment at the same time. Therefore, most audiologists prefer the pure-tone test because it can be completed in 20-30 minutes. So, a patient can be in and out of the office quickly, get the hearing test done and get back to work in a short time.


To recommend the correct type of treatment, audiologists must determine the exact level of hearing loss a patient is experiencing. Besides, a pure-tone test can help the audiologists determine if the patient's hearing loss is permanent or reversible. Also, the data generated by the test can help establish whether the hearing loss has progressed over a long period or not.

Bottom line

If you are worried about your hearing, you should consider making an appointment for hearing tests as quickly as possible. Besides, when it comes to hearing loss, the earlier the tests, the better. It can be hard to identify the signs of hearing loss initially; however, if you are beginning to notice that your hearing isn't just right, a hearing test can help you get the support and advice you need. Your audiologist will discuss your needs and get the right hearing aid for you. To learn more about Portland Audiology Clinic, Contact us today at (503) 227-3668.