8th Cranial nerve – Webber’s test – Vestibulocochlear test for hearing

Definition:

The Webber test is performed, often before the Rinne test to determine whether a hearing loss is of a sensory neural or conductive origin.

Test procedure:

Using a vibrating 256 Hz or 512 Hz tuning fork, place it with both forks facing forwards at the midline of the apex of the patient’s skull.

Test findings (inc Positive & Negative results):

A normal finding is for the vibration to be heard equally in both ears.

An abnormal response is for there to be a lateralisation of the sound i.e: the sound is heard louder in one ear.

This may be interpreted as: sound appears louder on the side with conductive hearing loss, or if an ear suffers from a sensory-neural loss in hearing, the sound will appear louder on the opposite ear.

Considerations:

 If a conductive hearing loss is suspected, assess the external acoustic meatus using an otoscope, looking for any signs of obstruction and or/abnormalities. Together with the Webber test, the Rinne test enables the practitioner to discriminate between a sensory-neural or a conductive loss in hearing.