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Audiology Section
June 1961

Pitfalls in Routine Hearing Testing

Arch Otolaryngol. 1961;73(6):717-726. doi:10.1001/archotol.1961.00740020731018

An appreciation of the problems of validity and reliability of hearing tests has always been important; as middle ear surgery for deafness becomes more frequent, these problems become increasingly serious.

The routine hearing tests currently used by practicing otologists are usually air- and bone-conduction audiometry, tuning fork tests, and less frequently, speech reception and discrimination tests. In most instances the results of these tests lead to an accurate diagnosis. Occasionally, however, they can be highly misleading. It is the purpose of this presentation to call attention to some of the pitfalls encountered in routine hearing tests. In order to describe some of these pitfalls a series of illustrative cases has been selected. Most of them are from my clinical practice and some reflect personal errors.

Figure 1 shows the audiogram of a patient who was referred with a diagnosis of right-sided conductive deafness and advised to have a stapes mobilization.