A diagnostic hearing evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of your hearing ability done by someone professionally trained to identify various types and causes of hearing loss, answer your questions, refer for medical treatment where appropriate, and to discuss your options for managing your hearing health. It should include a history of your general health, and your hearing health in particular (noting any unusual symptoms or events that may affect your hearing).

You will usually be given a hearing health history form to fill out, and your audiologist or hearing healthcare provider will ask further questions at the beginning of your evaluation. You can expect to have your ear canals and eardrums visually inspected using a device called an otoscope. The health of your eardrum and middle ear should be evaluated.

You will also be asked to sit in a sound-proof room with headphones of one kind or another on your ears and to raise your hand or press a button when you hear a variety of sounds. This allows the examiner to determine how loud sounds of various frequencies must be in order for you to barely hear them. Your tolerance to loud sounds, your ability to understand and repeat words, and any tinnitus you experience should also be assessed. Once your evaluation is completed, your audiologist or hearing healthcare provider should discuss the results with you and answer any questions you may have.

Recommendations may be made regarding treatment or management of any hearing loss identified.


  • Otoscopic inspection of the ear canal and eardrum
  • Tympanograms
  • Acoustic reflex testing
  • Pure tone air conduction thresholds
  • Pure tone bone conduction thresholds
  • Speech reception thresholds
  • Word recognition scores
  • Tinnitus evaluation if necessary
  • Eustachian tube function testing if necessary
  • Discussion of the results and options
  • Professional report to your physician or other of your choice


  • Type of hearing loss
  • Degree and pattern of hearing loss
  • Probable cause(s) of the hearing loss
  • Status of middle and inner ear function
  • Status of ear drum and Eustachian tube function
  • Likelihood of success with amplification or other treatment
  • Whether medical intervention would be of benefit