Weber's test

From Otolaryngology Online

Weber's test:

Is a tuning fork test (quick) used to assess hearing levels in an individual. This can easily detect unilateral conductive and unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. This test is name after Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795 – 1878). Procedure:

Tuning forks used - 256 Hz / 512 Hz

Commonly used frequency is 512 Hz.

A vibrating fork is placed over the forehead / vertex / chin of the patient. The patient should be instructed to indicate which ear hears the sound better. In normal ear and in bilateral equally deaf ears the sound will be heard in the mid line. This test is very sensitive in identifying unilateral deafness. It can pick out even a 5 dB difference between the ears.


A patient with a unilateral (one-sided) conductive hearing loss would hear the tuning fork loudest in the affected ear. This is because the conduction problem masks the ambient noise of the room, whilst the well-functioning inner ear picks the sound up via the bones of the skull causing it to be perceived as a louder sound than in the unaffected ear.


This test is most useful in individuals with hearing that is different between the two ears. It cannot confirm normal hearing because it does not measure sound sensitivity in a quantitative manner. Hearing defects affecting both ears equally, as in Presbycusis will produce an apparently normal test result.

Figure showing weber's test being performed