What is the TEN Test?

10 mins
21 December 2021


TEN stands for Threshold Equalising Noise. This is a type of masking noise that is presented to the ear being tested (as opposed to the non-test ear during masking in conventional pure tone audiometry, to prevent cross hearing of sound).

TEN testing is performed when one suspects a dead region i.e. a region of the cochlea where inner hair cell damage leads to a non-functioning region of the cochlea. Such a scenario would cause the audiologist to increase the sound level during pure-tone audiometry. At some point, the pure tone that would normally be heard in the dead region might still be detected via off-frequency listening i.e. the sound vibration spreads to a functioning region of the cochlea. The action of off-frequency listening would cause an under-estimation of the true hearing loss within the dead region, and this could ultimately affect patient care. Introducing TEN prevents off-frequency listening, hence audiologist is able to accurately diagnose the presence of a dead region.

References and caveats
Moore, B.C.J. (2004) Dead regions in the cochlea: Conceptual foundations, diagnosis and clinical applications. Ear and Hearing, 25, pages 98-116.


Michael Maslin
After working for several years as an audiologist in the UK, Michael completed his Ph.D. in 2010 at The University of Manchester. The topic was plasticity of the human binaural auditory system. He then completed a 3-year post-doctoral research program that built directly on the underpinning work carried out during his Ph.D. In 2015, Michael joined the Interacoustics Academy, offering training and education in audiological and vestibular diagnostics worldwide. Michael now works for the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, exploring his research interests which include electrophysiological measurement of the central auditory system, and the development of clinical protocols and clinical techniques applied in areas such as paediatric audiology and vestibular assessment and management.

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