Do you have hearing loss? Hearing loss is often a very gradual process, and it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment hearing loss starts to impact your quality of life. The best way to monitor your hearing health is through regular hearing evaluations at Clear Hearing and Audiology. A hearing test will uncover a hearing loss, determine the severity of the hearing loss and show exactly which frequencies and speech sounds you can’t hear. A hearing test can also tell you what kind of hearing loss you have, whether sensorineural, conductive, or mixed hearing loss. Once your hearing has been evaluated you can make an informed decision about your treatment options, and make smart choices for your hearing health.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Hearing Loss
You should schedule a regular hearing test every 1 to 3 years, or as soon as you recognize any of the symptoms of hearing loss. Ask yourself the following questions about your hearing abilities, and be completely honest with yourself.
Do conversations lack clarity?
Is it difficult to hear in background noise?
Is it difficult to focus on important speech sounds?
Is it hard to hear the speaker at a meeting, service, or event?
Do you ask people to repeat themselves several times during a conversation?
Does it seem like everyone is mumbling or speaking too softly?
Is it challenging to have a conversation on the phone?
Have you been turning up the volume on the TV a little more each week?
Have you noticed a ringing or buzzing in your ears?
If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, you may have a hearing loss. Don’t ignore the symptoms of hearing loss, and schedule a hearing evaluation right away.
Step 1: A Hearing Health History
When you come in for a hearing test, the first thing we’ll do is discuss your hearing health history and medical health history. We want to find out what symptoms or medical issues may be related to your hearing loss. Learning your hearing health history will help us pinpoint the cause of your hearing loss, and look for any medical or genetic causes for your hearing loss.
We’ll ask you about any family history of hearing loss. We will also ask if you have had a head trauma or injury that could impact your hearing. We may ask you about exposure to noise in your professional life, or during leisure activities. Noise induced hearing loss is more common than ever before, and knowing if you’ve been exposed to dangerously loud sounds will tell us more about your unique hearing loss.
Step 2: An otoscopic exam
After reviewing your hearing health history, we’ll take a moment to look in your ears with an otoscope. This is completely non-invasive, and allows us to look in your ear canal, or even see the eardrum. We will look for signs of any infection or inflammation, or other damage to the ear. We’ll also check to see if you have a build up of earwax that could be affecting your hearing.
Step 3: The Hearing Test
During the hearing test, you will sit in a sound-treated booth to make sure there are no background noises that could impact the hearing test. We’ll ask you to wear a pair of headphones, and play a series of soft and loud sounds at a variety of pitches to find out what you can and can’t hear. All you need to do is indicate when you’ve heard a sound.
There are several hearing tests we may perform during the comprehensive evaluation. These include:
Pure tone test: In this test, you’ll hear single tones at a number of different pitches and volumes. We’ll ask you to stay focused, and let us know whenever you hear a tone. With this test, we’ll find out whether or not you have hearing loss and how severe the loss is.
Speech test: During this test you will hear a word and be asked to repeat what you heard. This helps to determine your speech reception threshold (the softest level you can hear a word) and your speech discrimination score (your ability to understand speech).
Bone conduction test: This tests helps to classify that type of hearing loss you have. A conductive hearing loss generally indicates a problem with the outer or middle ear, while a sensorineural hearing loss suggests a problem with the inner ear. Different recommendations will be made based off the type of hearing loss you have.
Step 4: Seeing your Results
After the hearing tests, we’ll go over your hearing results which are printed on an audiogram. This is a graph that visually shows you the softest sounds you can hear at all the different pitches, in each ear. These results will determine if you have mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss. We will also see if your hearing loss is sensorineural or conductive. The results will help us recommend the best treatment options for your hearing loss.
After the Hearing Test
Once the test is complete and you’ve looked at your results, it’s time to talk about treatment options! If your hearing loss needs medical intervention such as medication or surgery, we will refer you to a local Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) physician. If your hearing loss would be best managed with hearing aids, we work with the world’s top hearing aid manufacturers, and have treatment options available for all kinds of hearing loss. Based on your lifestyle and hearing needs, we’ll find hearing devices that will fit seamlessly into your life, and help you hear the sounds you’ve been missing.