Studies show that most people wait an average of seven years to seek treatment for their hearing loss. But as with many medical issues, early intervention means a better chance of a positive outcome. Hearing evaluations are quick and painless and can give you and your audiologist crucial insight into your current hearing health and the best treatment options.
If you have noticed any changes in your hearing or are thinking about scheduling a hearing exam, there is no reason to delay. Here is a summary of what to expect at your hearing exam.
Questions about your medical history and symptoms
A thorough medical history will be taken before your appointment, and we will ask about any complaints or symptoms that you have been experiencing. We want to know if you have had any recent issues regarding balance, tinnitus, and noise exposure. We will also ask about what medications and supplements you are currently taking, so be sure to bring a complete list.
Three critical tests will help us assess your hearing loss and determine its cause: pure tone, bone conduction, and speech recognition threshold (SRT).
This test reveals the quietest tones that a person can hear at low and high frequencies. For this test, you will sit in a soundproof room with headphones. We will ask you to listen to a series of tones in different ears at high, middle, and low frequencies. The volume of the tones will be lowered until you cannot hear them, and the results will be recorded. It would help if you then gave a signal with the corresponding hand when you could hear the tone.
Bone conduction testing
This is similar to a pure-tone test, but a different headset gives us different information about your hearing. This test will help the audiologist determine whether the loss is conductive in nature or sensorineural.
Speech recognition test
This will help confirm the pure-tone test results. Excerpts will be delivered in descending volumes until you can no longer understand the speech. This is called your speech recognition threshold (SRT), the lowest sound level at which you can identify words or speech.
We may also perform additional tests to assess the physical health of your outer ear, ear canal, and middle ear. These tests include otoscopy (a physical examination of the outer ear) and tympanometry (a test of the middle ear).
What else can I expect during the visit?
The hearing test will typically last for 30 to 40 minutes, but be sure to allow extra time for a follow-up discussion with us, at which point you can discuss the test results and ask any questions you may have.
The test results may indicate that you could benefit from hearing aids. If this is the case, you’ll also want to allow time to discuss your options.
Hearing loss affects not just the hard of hearing individual but also their family members, which is considered a family issue. It is recommended to bring a support person along with you for your appointment. Ideally, this would be a family member or a close friend. Plan on bringing a trusted relative to help you understand the information and recommendations you are given.
Your hearing evaluation is an excellent opportunity to establish a relationship with us. You will want to make sure that they are someone who listens attentively to all of your concerns. Most importantly, if you have questions during your appointment, don’t hesitate to speak up. Taking a proactive role in your hearing health will help you to find the best hearing solution for your needs and lifestyle.
Schedule your hearing exam today!
To start the journey towards improving your hearing today, contact us to schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation with one of our hearing health professionals. Better hearing awaits!