Ask an Audiologist: Does an Acoustic Reflex Threshold Test Have Side Effects?

August 23rd, 2016 | by Stephanie Loder | Audiologist
Ask an Audiologist: Does an Acoustic Reflex Threshold Test Have Side Effects?

What is an Acoustic Reflex Threshold test? What does it measure? Are there any side effects?

Hearing Solutions Audiologist, Stephanie Loder fields these and other questions about acoustic reflex threshold tests from a concerned individual.

Ask an Audiologist

Are there any side effects of an acoustic reflex threshold test if it’s done twice and at the same time? Are they permanent? Can it cause hearing loss, a high-frequency loss, cause tinnitus to get worse, or cause bone displacement? It sounded were very loud. Is that considered sudden exposure to noise that might cause hearing loss?

I am suffering from tinnitus, mainly in my right ear, for about a year. It’s a soft sound and I had seen an ENT doctor who told me everything was fine. They had ordered a tympanogram and audiogram, both were normal. All this happened in the past three months. About one week ago I went again to an ENT doctor. He did the test by himself and told me it was normal. Then he did it again because he didn’t print some paper, but this time, the nurse did it for me. I felt an uncomfortable feeling in my ears during and after the test.

My tinnitus has changed a little bit and isn’t like it used to be. Now when I cover my right ear with the lobule I hear ringing that wasn’t there and in my left ear as well. Sometimes I feel they’re ok. I downloaded an app for a hearing test and it showed me that I have high-frequency hearing loss. I’m regretting each second that l went to this untrained doctor and nurse. It looks like they didn’t know what to do. Their hands were shaky and the nurse used a different green tip, not like the doctor. He used a red one. Please help me!

Audiologist Response

Thank you for your submission.

Acoustic reflex threshold testing is a common practice used to assess the integrity of auditory pathways and measure reflexes of muscles in the middle ear. Negative side effects of an acoustic reflex measurement are very unlikely because of the brief presentation time of those sounds. Noise-induced hearing loss is due not only to the presentation level (loudness) of the sound but also due to the duration of that sound. Furthermore, the different color tips you mentioned usually indicate the size of the probe, as every patient’s ear is different. That being said, I can’t be entirely sure of the equipment and methods used by the doctor and the nurse that assessed you.

My advice to you is to book a hearing test at Hearing Solutions for a complete hearing assessment to determine whether there have been any changes in your hearing. Unfortunately, online hearing tests are not as accurate as a hearing test performed by a hearing care professional because audiological equipment must meet specific calibration standards. We have a team of well-trained Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists who would be happy to complete a full hearing evaluation and discuss your concerns.


Stephanie Loder, B.Sc., M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO Audiologist, Aud(C)

Stephanie is a registered Audiologist with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario. Stephanie currently sees patients at Hearing Solutions’ Carlingwood Shopping Centre location in Ottawa.

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