Houston, TX | TOPs Hearing & Balance Center

Better Living Through
Better Hearing

Hearing Tests


If you or a loved one has hearing loss, it is important to get a hearing tests as soon as possible. Undiagnosed hearing loss can have a negative impact on many aspects of an individual’s life. Undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, cognitive decline, dementia and increased risk of falling or injury. 

At TOPS Hearing Center, we work closely with our patients to help them understand the type and degree of hearing loss they have and partner with them in the path to better hearing.  

Diagnostic audiologic evaluation

The journey begins with a hearing test appointment. These appointments are typically  30 minutes long. Your audiologist will ask you about your medical history as well as your hearing health history. you will undergo a series of tests, known as the diagnostic audiological evaluation. This evaluation contains a handful of tests, including:

  • Otoscopy:  Visual inspection of the ear canal and eardrum is performed with an otoscope to ensure it is clear of wax, foreign bodies, infection, or perforation in the ear drum.
  • Audiometry: A test during which you’ll be asked to respond to a series tones and repeat words. 
  • Otoacoustic emissions testing: A non-invasive and objective test that measures how well the cochlea, or inner ear, works and helps in diagnosing the cause of hearing loss
  • Tympanometry: A test that measures how well the middle ear functions. 
  • Acoustic Reflex testing:  A measurement of the 8th nerve reflex by presenting brief loud tones which is valuable in diagnosis of the type of hearing loss. 


Live speech mapping 

Live speech mapping is one of the newest technological advancements available in hearing loss evaluation and hearing aid fitting. Live speech mapping relies on cutting-edge technology that allows our audiologists to see what you hear through your hearing aid in real time. During live speech mapping, small microphones are placed inside the ear canal to detect differences in how you are hearing. The results are displayed in real time, enabling your audiologist to make quick adjustments for a better hearing aid fit.

Pediatric Hearing Testing

  • Otoacoustic emissions testing:  (Birth and up)  A non-invasive and objective measure of hearing that is performed by placing a tip at the entrance of the ear canal and presenting a series of tones.  This can be performed on all ages, including newborns and infants.  This is the test that is performed on all infants prior to being discharged from the hospital at birth.  It provides information about the ability to hear in the high frequencies. 
  • Conditioned Orientation Reflex testing (COR):  (3 months and up)  Using lights and puppets, the patient is conditioned to turn to the sound using a visual reward system.  The results indicate the ability to hear for speech and tones for at least the better ear.
  • Play Audiometry:  (3-5 year olds)  Patient is trained to respond to tones with games such as dropping a block in a bucket or putting a peg in the board each time a tone is heard