Did you know about 28 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss? Because hearing loss often occurs gradually, many individuals don’t realize they have it until the conditions has become more severe. If you think you may have hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test conducted.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can present in numerous areas, whether it’s turning the television up too loudly or having problems hearing in crowded environments. Consider having a hearing test if you notice any of the following:
- Trouble hearing in crowded environments
- Increasing the volume on the television or radio
- Feeling like everyone is mumbling
- Asking others to repeat themselves constantly
- Trouble hearing even when speaking one-on-one
- Difficulty hearing on the phone
Dealing with hearing loss is not easy when it’s undiagnosed. Without evaluations, the condition will get more complicated for all involved.
Comprehensive diagnostic audiologic evaluations
Davis Audiology gives comprehensive audiologic evaluations to gather all necessary information about hearing loss. A hearing test provides a wealth of information to the audiologists. The results of your hearing test will determine if you do in fact have hearing loss, how severe it is and what pitches or tones you struggle to hear. Hearing tests are painless, and sometimes require patient input for accuracy. Most tests take place in a soundproof booth to keep out any noise that will affect the results. Before the tests are set up, the audiologist will ask key questions about the patient’s health background. This is usually where tinnitus and other problems are brought up.
There are a number of different hearing tests and your audiologist will conduct the ones they feel will be most conducive to getting answers about your condition.
Your doctor of audiology may conduct the following hearing tests:
- Otoscopy: visual inspection of the ear canal and ear drum to rule out any wax impaction or debris that may be present in the ear canal.
- Pure tone air and bone conduction testing: measures hearing sensitivity and degree and type of hearing loss in the peripheral and central auditory systems.
- Speech Reception Threshold Testing: determines your threshold for hearing two-syllable words, like “hotdog” or “baseball”. Your threshold is the faintest noise level at which you can correctly repeat the words 50 percent of the time or more. It confirms the results of pure tone testing and determines if a retest is needed.
- Speech recognition testing: assesses how well you can understand individual words in quiet. Words are presented to you at a comfortable listening level in a sentence format either via recorded materials or monitored live voice and you repeat back the word given.
- Speech-In-Noise Testing: determines how well you can understand speech in a noisy environment. You will be asked to repeat sentences at a comfortable listening volume in the presence of background noise with an increasing level of difficulty.
- Tympanometry: tests the middle ear space, Eustachian tube and eardrum. Changes in pressure are handled with a tympanometer using multiple bursts of air by placing a pressure probe in your ear to test for fluid/congestion, issues with the bones in the middle ear, and other blockage problems.
- Acoustic reflex threshold & decay testing: measures the contraction of the stapedius muscle in your inner ear that contracts when you hear a loud noise.
Real Ear Measurements
Real ear measurements ensure that hearing aids are programmed correctly. This verification is important regardless of the hearing aid manufacturer or type. Without the proper programming and prescription, even the most expensive hearing aid in the world can underperform. Every individual has different needs with programming, and that is where real ear measurements provide important information to your audiologist. They are an improvement in accuracy over older methods that relied on tweaking and further tests. During the hearing aid fitting and follow-up, real ear measurements ensure best practices for optimization of patient hearing aid satisfaction.
A small microphone is inserted in the ear canal so that the equipment can see sound in real time. With the patient’s current prescription being shown visually, audiologists can fine-tune the device as necessary.