“What was that?” “what did you say?” If you find that you are asking questions like this more often than not, it may be time to schedule a hearing exam. While hearing loss is commonly misconceived as a condition which only affects older adults, we now understand that it affects one in eight in the United States between the ages of 18-69. Much of this is caused due to unsafe listening to music at venues or through headphones, but may also be caused at work, due to impact to the head, use of certain medications considered ototoxic, or untreated diseases affecting blood flow. Regardless of the cause, hearing loss can affect more than just your hearing. It’s a communication issue, affecting your relationships, earnings at work, mobility, independence, mood, cognitive functioning and general quality of life.
The important thing to do is to schedule a hearing exam. For those who have never attended a hearing exam it can feel nerve racking. Fortunately, we do them all the time and can help you understand what to expect.
You are here to test your hearing, but to understand the best treatment we must also understand many aspects of your life. We will ask you a series of questions in order to understand what you may want out of better hearing with hearing aids. This can include a medical history, understanding your professional life, and what you like to do for recreation. We strive to understand what kind of environments you need to hear in and what aspects of your life you specifically want to improve with enhanced hearing from busy office settings, music concerts, spending time outdoors and more.
Once we know a little bit more about you comes a physical examination of your ears. We will use an otoscope to inspect your ear canal and check for any blockages or abnormalities which could be contributing to a hearing loss. If a blockage is detected this is defined as a conductive hearing loss and can usually be corrected by clearing the ear canal.
Next comes the audio testing of your hearing ability. There are a series of tests to best understand your hearing abilities in diverse listening situations. Most of these tests take place in a soundproof booth to get a controlled reading on your hearing.
Pure Tone Autonomy Test
While wearing headphones or noise-canceling earmuffs you will hear a series of tones ranging from low to high. You will be asked to raise the corresponding hand in relation to which ear you hear the sound in order to determine what are the quietest sounds, tones and pitches you are able to detect.
Speech audiometry testing is used to determine how you can hear human speech in conversation. This includes a range of tones and pitches. Similar to the pure tone audiometry, you will be asked to signal if you hear the person speaking. Often you will be asked to repeat what you heard in order to get an accurate reading.
Tympanometry is a test that shows how well your middle ear is working by measuring how your eardrum moves. By using physical bursts of air pressure the test measures your auditory reflexes and responsiveness of the ear to pressure. This helps us understand how you respond to changes in sound.
Discovering Your Results
Once the test is completed and we have compiled the results we will speak to you about them. We will show your results on a graph known as an audiogram which shows the lowest and highest tones, pitches and sounds you are able to detect. Based on your lowest threshold of different sounds we will be able to categorize the extent of your hearing loss from mild, moderate, severe, or profound. The good news is that regardless of your results, we now have the information to help determine the best treatment for your individual hearing loss.
Visit Us for a Hearing Test
If you suspect you’ve been dealing with hearing loss, don’t put it off another day. Untreated hearing loss is just not worth it! Find out what we can do for you, by scheduling a hearing exam with us today! You have nothing to lose and so much hearing to gain!