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Rinne Test: Procedure & Results Explained

The Rinne Test is a specific kind of hearing test. As with other hearing tests, it helps people quickly identify hearing loss.

We will guide you through everything you need to know about the Rinne Test Procedure and Results.

What does the Rinne Test do?

The Rinne Test is a popular form of hearing test. Named after German otologist, Heinrich Adolf Rinne, the primary purpose of this screening is to identify hearing losses in one ear. Unilateral hearing loss (a loss in one ear) is one of the most common types of impairments and the likes of the Rinne Test can better determine if a hearing loss is in fact present.

Test your hearing online for free here.

How does the Rinne Test check for Hearing Loss

The Rinne Test procedure involves the use of a vibrating tuning fork and can be split into two stages. It compares how the ear receives sound via air conduction against bone conduction to determine hearing loss.

  • Stage 1: The tester will place a tuning fork against the mastoid bone and the you are asked to inform the tester when you can no longer hear a sound.
  • Stage 2: When you cannot hear the sound of stage 1, they will place the tuning fork just behind the auditory canal. This step continues again until you can no longer hear the sounds.

The assessment should not replace professional hearing screenings. Having completed a Rinne Test, you should seek further medical tests.

What will Rinne Test Results reveal?

Results will highlight potential signs of hearing loss. A follow-up test with an audiologist would confirm a hearing impairment, as well as identify the root cause.

If a normal hearing is present, sounds from the tuning fork should be heard after it is no longer held against the mastoid bone.

If a hearing loss is, in fact, present, the testee should be unable to hear the fork once removed from the mastoid bone. This means that the person's bone conduction is greater than air conduction suggesting there may be an issue with sounds reaching the inner ear. Therefore, asserting a possible hearing loss.

What's the difference between Air & Bone Conducted Hearing Loss?

Ultimately, this is testing how the ear receives sound waves. Normally you can hear through both air conduction and bone conduction. The Rinne Test compares the two different ways the ear receives sound.

Air conduction focuses on the air around the middle ear (eardrum) and can help identify a conductive hearing loss. On-the-other-hand, bone conduction relates to the vibrations felt by the inner ear. If sensorineural hearing loss is present in one ear, then both air conduction and bone conduction will be equal, but those with SHL should feel the sound stop earlier than someone with normal hearing.

Combining the Rinne & Weber Test

The Weber Test usually accompanies the Rinne Test.

The Weber Test, as with the Rinne, is another type of quick hearing screening. They complement one another by both testing for unilateral hearing loss. The Weber assessment can be taken to access a more profound overview of our ability to hear by testing for other types of losses. This includes conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

As with any hearing check, you should visit an audiologist or healthcare professional for proper audiometric tests if you have any worries about your hearing.

Test your Hearing for Free

Should you have any concerns about your hearing, take our free online hearing test.

Just enter some details, plug in some headphones and you're ready to make a start. The check takes three minutes and you'll receive your results instantly. Results will indicate if you need to take further action to prevent hearing loss.

Please note: Our hearing test should not be regarded as clinical data. We advise that you consult a medical professional for a full audiometric assessment. 

How to properly Manage Hearing Loss

Hearing aids are the essential instrument to effectively managing hearing loss. At Hearing Direct, you will find a comprehensive collection of affordable devices suited for mild to moderate hearing losses.

Depending on your hearing impairment, certain digital hearing aids may be more preferential. For example, you may require a more sophisticated device with a larger set of features to manage a more severe loss. Again, style, shape, and price will be fundamental factors to consider when seeking out a device.

Crucially, the likes of amplified telephones improve communication for the hard of hearing.

About Hearing Direct

We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, and information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing.

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Author: Joan McKechnie

Image of Joan McKechnieAfter qualifying as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Joan has spent most of her 20 year career in hearing-care related roles. She has a wealth of experience within the hearing aid and hearing rehabilitation fields and has worked in manufacturing environments with two hearing aid companies helping to develop  products and roll out new technologies. Joan has been involved with Hearing Direct since its launch and enjoys the online retail environment which seeks to provide easier access to hearing products and accessories. She is HCPC registered. Read Joan's full bio here.