Diagnosing Hearing Problems

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Treatment & Terminology of Ear-Related Problems

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Hearing
  • 0:20 Audio-
  • 2:10 Ear Testing
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

If you watch the video version of this lesson, I hope your speakers are turned up so you can hear everything that is covered! In this lesson, we'll address some important vocabulary related to diagnosing hearing problems.


Hello? Can you hear me? What if someone can't hear this at all or has difficulty doing so? What then? Well, you're about to learn some key terminology related to diagnosing hearing problems.


If you're listening to this lesson then you heard me say that half of this lesson, the audio part, depends on you being able to hear me, didn't I? You heard it right if you remember me saying that. Hearing, the sense of hearing, has a prefix: audio-. Kind of fitting and easy, right?

There are individuals who specialize in the hearing function called audiologists. The suffix of '-ology' stands for the scientific study of something, while '-ologist' refers to a specialist in a particular field, in this case that of hearing and sound. What do audiologists do? In brief, they use audiometry, the measurement of the sharpness of hearing by generating different tones, like musical notes, in order to figure out if there is a hearing problem. These tones come out at different volumes and frequencies.

Thus, two important terms related to audiometry are hertz and decibels. Hertz refers to the measure of the frequency of sound, meaning it's how high or low a pitch is. A soprano has a high pitch, while a basso profondo has a very low pitch. A decibel is a measure of how loud a sound is. So, a jet engine is obviously much louder than a regular conversation.

To remember the difference, think: hertz sounds like hurts. It hurts when we hear high frequency sounds like metal on glass. The 'bel' in deci'bel' reminds me of a really loud alarm bell that wakes us up in the morning. Anyways, if an audiologist determines that there is an actual problem, then they try to figure out what the cause is in order to figure out the best treatment protocol. This may include the use of everything from hearing aids to the training of a person in lip reading.

Ear Testing

When an audiologist tests a person's hearing, it may involve monaural or binaural testing. Monaural testing refers to tests involving one ear, where 'mono-' means one, like in monorail, and 'aural' being a word that means pertaining to the ear. As you can guess by now binaural testing refers to tests involving both ears, where 'bi-' means two. Audiologists, as well as doctors in general, will utilize something known as an otoscope to look into the external ear canal for any signs of problems. An otoscope is a medical instrument used to inspect the ear. 'Oto-' means ear.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account