The acoustic reflex testing procedure is a diagnostic test that evaluates the functionality of the middle ear muscles in response to sound stimuli. It’s a test that is commonly used to assess hearing function as well as diagnose hearing-related disorders here at PHC Tennessee.

By performing this simple test, your audiologist can help you get the treatment you require for a better quality of life.

What Happens during an Acoustic Reflex Test?

During an acoustic reflex test, an audiologist will place a small probe into your ear canal. This probe contains a microphone that measures the sound that enters the ear canal and a small vibrator that stimulates the eardrum.

The probe is used to measure the changes in pressure within the ear canal that occur when the stapedius muscle contracts in response to a loud sound.

This is a reflex action known as the acoustic reflex, and its purpose is to protect your inner ear from loud or sudden sounds.

These pressure changes are then recorded by the audiometer and used to determine the acoustic reflex threshold (ART), which is the minimum sound intensity required to elicit the acoustic reflex.

An acoustic reflex test is both painless and non-invasive and usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Who Is an Acoustic Reflex Test For?

An acoustic reflex test can be performed on patients of all ages, and because it’s a safe and painless procedure, it can help determine any potential hearing issues afflicting infants and young children.

It should be noted, however, that the test may not be suitable for patients with certain medical conditions such as severe ear infections or a perforated eardrum.

If you’re someone who suspects you may have a hearing issue, it’s worth getting an acoustic reflex test done, as your results can identify a variety of problems.

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What Hearing Disorders Can an Acoustic Reflex Test Identify?

There are many hearing-related disorders that can be found through conducting an acoustic reflex test, including:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss – a type of hearing loss that occurs when there is damage to the hair cells in the inner ear or auditory nerve, which results in a reduction in your ability to hear soft or high-pitched sounds.
  • Conductive hearing loss– an issue that occurs when there is a blockage or damage to the middle ear, preventing sound waves from reaching the inner ear.
  • Facial nerve disorders – the acoustic reflex test can also help identify facial nerve disorders like Bell’s palsy, which affect the functionality of the stapedius muscle in your ear.
  • Acoustic neuroma – a benign tumor that grows on the auditory nerve and can cause hearing loss or tinnitus. The acoustic reflex test can help identify the presence of an acoustic neuroma.

A low acoustic reflex threshold (ART)
may indicate a problem with the middle ear, such as fluid buildup.

A high ART may indicate a problem with the auditory nerve, such as a tumor or inflammation. In some cases, the acoustic reflex may be absent, which can indicate a problem with the stapedius muscle or the facial nerve that controls the muscle.

Overall, the acoustic reflex testing procedure is a valuable diagnostic tool for assessing hearing function and identifying hearing-related disorders.

Booking an Acoustic Reflex Test in Tennessee

If you’re experiencing any hearing issues, it’s essential to schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation, which includes acoustic reflex testing.

Although the thought of a hearing test can make some people nervous, there’s nothing to be worried about. The evaluation is painless and can provide invaluable insight into your hearing health.

Don’t delay seeking help if you’re experiencing a hearing loss or other hearing health issues. Schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation today and take the first step toward better hearing health.

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Dr. Kalyn Bradford Au.D.

Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the director of hearing aid services here at Physician's Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician's Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a clinical audiologist, where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as director of hearing aid services, where she does an excellent job managing the audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.