Advanced Hearing Testing
Better Hearing Begins with a Hearing Assessment
Your hearing health contributes greatly to your capacity to lead a healthier, happier, independent, and rewarding lifestyle. In spite of the negative impact of hearing loss on so many Americans, too many people who might greatly benefit from better hearing care put off having their hearing tested. Many people avoid seeking treatment for hearing loss because they are unsure of what is involved in a hearing assessment. Our doctors want you to have a clear understanding of what you can expect from a hearing assessment ahead of time.
What to Expect from a Hearing Assessment
No matter your age, your unique circumstances, or the cause, if your hearing is not what it used to be, you can expect to receive the highest possible level of individualized hearing care from Hearing Associates. However, to pinpoint the exact cause and level of your hearing loss, we go through a series of steps in our hearing assessment.
Who Needs a Hearing Assessment?
If you are over the age of 50, it is a good idea to come in for a hearing assessment to help establish a baseline for measuring future levels of hearing loss. As you age, an annual assessment of your hearing is as important as other regular health checkups. Additionally, if you notice that you are straining to hear conversations in crowded rooms, tend to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, and/or seem to be asking others to repeat themselves with greater frequency, you could be experiencing a hearing loss. The only way to know for sure is by scheduling a hearing assessment.
A Friendly Conversation
We are interested in more than your ears, so we start off our assessment by getting to know you through a conversation about your work, hobbies and interests, and lifestyle while leading into the concerns you have about your hearing. We’ll discuss your family and medical history and ask about various medications or treatments you might be undergoing as well as accidents or events that might have caused hearing damage. Besides getting to know you better, this conversation provides us with an insight into possible causes and what you want to achieve from hearing care.
A Physical Examination of Your Ears
Following our conversation, your audiologist will conduct a physical examination of your ears. Using an otoscope, which is a magnifying glass with a tapered tip and a light at the end, the doctor can identify obstructions and inflammation that could be obstructing your hearing as well as provide a closer look at possible damage to the eardrum and middle ear structures.
The physical examination of the ear structures is followed by a tympanogram. By creating a slight change of pressure in the ear canal and the transmission of a tone, your doctor will be able to evaluate how your eardrum and middle ear structures respond to sound. This is a critical part of identifying ruptures or the buildup of fluid behind the eardrum, which contribute to temporary and treatable hearing loss.
Hearing Threshold Testing
What many people refer to as the “hearing test” is the next step in our assessment process. Your audiologist will make you comfortable in a quiet, sound-treated room designed to eliminate background noise and distractions. You will be fitted with headphones that are connected to an audiometer to conduct three hearing threshold tests, which include:
- Pure-tone Audiometry
For this test, a variety of tones at different pitches and volumes are transmitted into the earphones. Each time you hear these sounds, you will respond, allowing us to establish the lowest volume of sound you can hear at each tested frequency.
- Speech Audiometry
Like with the pure-tone audiometry, we will transmit recorded or live speech into your earphones at various volumes and pitches. You will repeat back the words you hear, allowing us to evaluate your capacity to understand spoken conversations.
- Speech with Background Noise
Taking things a step further, we add background noises at various volumes and pitches while transmitting speech. In addition to the “quiet” tests, this gives us an indication of your hearing capacity in various “real-world” environments.
Acoustic reflex testing can provide information about the type (conductive, sensory, neural) and degree of hearing loss.
A tiny muscle in the middle ear tightens when you hear a loud sound. This is an acoustic reflex and it happens without you knowing it. How loud the sound needs to be before this reflex happens can tell a lot about your hearing.
This test is like tympanometry. The sounds will come through a probe in your ear and a device will record your response.
During this test, we put a small microphone into the ear canal to measure the sound your hair cells are making. This allows us to determine how healthy those cells are. This test is routinely done with children and frequently with adults, particularly at the initial evaluation.
Schedule a Hearing Assessment
Hearing care begins with a hearing assessment. To properly treat hearing loss, we have to know what we’re up against. If you suspect that you or a loved one might be experiencing a hearing loss, there is no better time than today to take the first step toward better hearing, greater independence, and a more rewarding lifestyle. Use our form to schedule a hearing assessment and get started on your journey to better hearing.