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Most Common Hearing Tests

Woman Getting Ear Exam

When you schedule your appointment to see an audiologist, you may have many questions, like what happens to test your hearing when you visit them? Visiting an audiologist is an essential path to getting your hearing problem diagnosed. But for those people that are wondering what happens when you see an audiologist, here are the most common hearing tests performed, and what else you should expect before and during your visit.

Establishing your case history

Visiting an audiologist for the first time requires a lot of formalities, like paperwork. Your audiologist will very likely take a lot of information from you relating to your medical history. This includes symptoms, common complaints, and if you take specific medications. This will help to give them a comprehensive picture of your hearing ability and if there's any root cause. It's always a good idea to take someone with you if you have any questions or just need some moral support. They could also help you to make notes of relevant information so that you can get the most out of your appointment. Before your audiologist appointment, you should take as many notes as possible about every hearing issue you've had. Once the audiologist has established your case history, it's time for the examinations.

Otoscopy exam

This is where the audiologist examines your ear canal using an otoscope. Before inserting the otoscope cone into the ear canal, the audiologist will examine the outer ear. This gives them the opportunity to see if there are any signs of disease, for example, an infection of the outer ear, which can result in ear pain. The outer part of the ear is pulled upwards and backward to straighten the external auditory canal, giving the audiologist a more unobstructed view of the eardrum. The audiologist will examine the eardrum and may ask you to perform small actions, such as gently blowing out while pinching your nose and closing your lips. This can help them to see if there are any problems with the Eustachian tube, such as a blockage.

A tympanogram

Tympanometry tests the movement of your eardrum. The audiologist places a small probe with a rubber tip into each ear. Air is then pushed into each year, giving the audiologist results on a graph if your eardrum is moving correctly. An eardrum can be too stiff, may move too much, or could even have a hole in it. From this test, the audiologist will be able to determine if you have fluid in the middle ear, a hole within the eardrum, or if it is a waxy build-up in your ear canal.

The pure-tone test

Also known as the pure-tone threshold test. This is where you are put in a room and asked to listen to beats comprising of different frequencies. By determining your tone threshold, the audiologist can get a better indication of the lowest volume in which you can hear certain sounds. Each ear will be tested on its own. When you hear a tone, you press the button, or you raise your hand. The test starts at an audible level and decreases by 10 decibels each time until the test is finished. The test results are illustrated as a graph, also known as an audiogram, and will show your hearing thresholds. In addition to this, the audiologist may also carry out a bone conduction test by placing a small bone conductor behind your ear.

The audiogram results

The audiogram is a graph giving a detailed picture of your hearing ability. The audiologist will be able to determine from the audiogram results whether you have hearing loss or not, and if you do, the severity of it. The audiologist will describe the results to you using the graph as a reference. The vertical axis of the audiogram represents the intensity or volume, measured in decibels. The horizontal axis represents the sound frequency, also known as the pitch, which is measured in Hertz. When the audiologist has gone over the findings, they will recommend the necessary treatment, which is usually hearing aids. Your audiologist will walk you through the different technologies and styles so you can pick one according to your lifestyle.

Visiting an audiologist is essential if you want to determine if you actually have a hearing problem. By working with your audiologist, and going through the tests to the best of your ability, you will provide them with the overall picture of your hearing health. You can call Davis Audiology at (864) 655-8300 to get a hearing test booked.