What is a tuning fork?
A tuning fork is a handheld device that produces tones that are essentially pure tones. Tuning forks of different sizes produce different frequency tones. The frequency of a tuning fork is determined by the length of the fork and the thickness of the tines.
What is a tuning fork used for?
Tuning forks are used in audiology to assess hearing. Two common tuning fork tests are the Rinne test and the Weber test.
- Rinne test: This test is used to determine whether hearing loss is conductive or sensorineural. In the Rinne test, the tuning fork is first placed on the mastoid bone behind the ear. The patient is then asked when they can no longer hear the sound. The tuning fork is then placed in front of the ear canal. If the patient can hear the sound longer in front of the ear than behind the ear, then the hearing loss is conductive. If the patient can hear the sound longer behind the ear than in front of the ear, then the hearing loss is sensorineural.
- Weber test: This test determines which ear is affected by hearing loss. In the Weber test, the tuning fork is placed on the forehead. The patient is then asked which ear they hear the sound louder in. If the sound is heard equally in both ears, then there is no hearing loss. If the sound is heard louder in one ear than the other, then the ear that hears the sound louder is the ear that is affected by hearing loss.
Which tuning fork is commonly used?
The most commonly used tuning fork in audiology is the 512 Hz tuning fork. This is because the 512 Hz frequency is in the middle of the human hearing range.
Why is it called a tuning fork?
A tuning fork is called a tuning fork because it is used to tune musical instruments. The tines of the tuning fork vibrate at a specific frequency, which is the same frequency as the note that the instrument is being tuned to.