Types of Audiometers and Their Applications

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Audiometry is a technique used to measure the ability to hear sounds. The process of audiometry is quite simple, consisting of three parts:

  • Mechanical sound transmission (middle ear function)
  • Neural sound transmission (cochlear function)
  • Speech discrimination ability (central integration)

Credit: MDC Digital Studio/Shutterstock.com

An audiometer is referred to a complex instrument which helps to measure a person's ability to hear. Various audiometric techniques and procedures are used to identify the hearing ability of a person.

Pure-tone audiometry

Pure-tone audiometry is considered to be the gold standard in the evaluation of auditory sensitivity. The extent of hearing loss and the cause is determined using pure-tone audiometry. It helps in finding out the hearing thresholds at different frequencies.

The range of pure-tone audiometers vary from simple inexpensive devices to elaborate and expensive diagnostic audiometers. In this test, a pure tone is presented to the ear through an earphone, and the lowest intensity at which the tone is perceived 50% of the time is measured in decibels (dB). This measurement is termed as ‘threshold’. The output is plotted as a graph known as audiogram. Testing procedure is performed at specific frequencies ranging from 250 to 8000 Hz.

Speech audiometry

The objective of the speech audiometry is to assess the integrity of the entire auditory system by evaluating the hearing ability. Neural type of hearing loss can be identified with the help of speech audiometry. Speech audiometric test is further categorized into speech discrimination test and speech reception threshold test.

Both the tests aim to identify the lowest decibel intensity at which a patient can repeat 50% of the words correctly. While speech discrimination test uses monosyllable test words, speech reception threshold test utilizes two syllable words with equal stress (also referred to as “spondees”).

Suprathreshold audiometry

Recruitment is referred to the condition where patients having different degrees of hearing loss in both ears experience enhancement in perceived loudness in response to small increase in the intensity.

Recruitment detection tests are known as the suprathreshold audiometry. At a typical conversational speech level, it helps detecting whether the listener can accurately recognize the speech or not. Benefits to a patient due to the use of a hearing aid can also be determined by this test.

Self-recording audiometry

Self-recording audiometry is also referred to as Bekesy audiometry. In 1947, George von Bekesy first introduced this test. In this procedure, intensity and frequency are automatically changed with the help of a motor.

The frequency can be changed in a forward or backward manner. This hearing test is performed using a recording attenuator. At a fixed rate of so many decibels per second, the attenuator can either increase or decrease the signal intensity. The attenuator action can be controlled by the listener.

Impedance audiometry

The mobility and air pressure of the middle ear system and middle ear reflexes are measured in impedance audiometry.

Computer-administered (microprocessor) audiometry

The first commercial microprocessor audiometer was introduced in 1975. The typical microprocessor audiometer instrument contains a multifunctional keypad. Compared to the manual and self-recording audiometers, microprocessor audiometers offer significant advantages.

Subjective audiometry

In this test, the subjects are asked to respond when they hear the presented sound. This audiometric test can present systematically varying acoustic stimuli to the subjects and record their responses.

Objective audiometry

Unlike subjective audiometry, this test is not dependent on responses from the patients. However, the subjects are asked to co-operate during the attachment of the measuring electrodes or probes for carrying out the objective test.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Amrita Roy

Written by

Amrita Roy

Amrita is a freelance science and medical writer from India. She has a B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Calcutta, and holds a post graduation degree in Microbiology. Amrita loves to travel to various places. She enjoys cooking and has her own food blog where she shares easy and tasty recipes.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Roy, Amrita. (2022, October 12). Types of Audiometers and Their Applications. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 24, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Types-of-Audiometers-and-Their-Applications.aspx.

  • MLA

    Roy, Amrita. "Types of Audiometers and Their Applications". News-Medical. 24 May 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Types-of-Audiometers-and-Their-Applications.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Roy, Amrita. "Types of Audiometers and Their Applications". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Types-of-Audiometers-and-Their-Applications.aspx. (accessed May 24, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Roy, Amrita. 2022. Types of Audiometers and Their Applications. News-Medical, viewed 24 May 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Types-of-Audiometers-and-Their-Applications.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.