Hearing Screenings vs. Evaluations

The difference between a hearing screening and a hearing evaluation is subtle but important.

What is a hearing screening?

A screening refers to a single, preliminary test used to determine whether a patient has a hearing loss. Think of it as a pass/fail exam: if the results indicate a hearing loss, a more detailed evaluation is required.

What is a hearing evaluation?

An evaluation is an in-depth series of tests conducted by an audiologist used to measure the type, degree and configuration of the impairment and identify the steps necessary for treatment. A typical hearing evaluation may consist of any combination of the following tests: pure-tone (air conduction) audiometry, bone conduction testing, speech testing, inner ear testing (Auditory Brainstem Response, Otoacoustic Emissions) and middle ear testing (tympanometry, acoustic reflex).

Why would I need a hearing evaluation over a screening?

During the evaluation, if there is a loss, an audiologist is able to identify the type of hearing loss, and help to create a plan around that specific loss. The type of hearing loss refers to which part of the hearing system has been damaged. Hearing loss is broken down into three basic types: conductive, sensorineural and mixed. Each type has a different course of treatment that is recommended, so it is important to know the distinction.


Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!