Prior to testing, it is important for us to sit down and discuss your listening experiences. We will also address medical history, though only information pertaining to your hearing. This is important as hearing loss paired with other symptoms, such as vertigo, can indicate an underlying medical condition that you may not even know about. The audiologist is educated to recognize red flags and make the correct referral.
From there, we begin to discuss your subjective experiences with hearing loss. We want to know who you have trouble hearing. Softer voices? High-pitch voices? What type of environments cause you frustration? Restaurants or other noisy environments? Business meetings? TV? We want to know if you’re having difficulty with other communication outlets, such as your cell phone. Most importantly, we need to identify what your listening priorities are. This is the most important piece of the process, as treatment recommendations must fill the needs of the patient.
Prior to the exam, we check your ears to identify any outside obstruction or debris that may be the cause of your hearing loss. This is important to ensure a reliable test and in some cases, solve a temporary problem with your hearing.
Acoustic Immittance Testing
Evaluates the eardrum and the middle ear space behind the eardrum, as well as a muscle reflex that involves the eardrum and middle ear, the inner ear, the auditory nerve, the auditory brainstem pathways and the facial nerve.
Speech Reception Thresholds (SRT)
Discovers the softest level of speech that you are able to hear and understand 50% of the time. This test works in conjunction with pure tone audiometry and provides an early indication of speech understanding ability.
Pure Tone Audiometry | Air and Bone Conduction
Helps us to determine the source of your hearing problem. If hearing loss is present, we use air and bone conduction testing in conjunction to determine if your hearing loss stems from the outer, inner, and/or middle ear. This is very important as it determines whether your hearing loss is permanent requiring a technological solution such as hearing aids, or if the impairment is due to a medical condition that a physician may be able to correct.
Evaluates your ability to understand single words at a loud enough level where you can hear it, regardless of hearing loss severity. This test is important because we know that hearing and understanding are not always the same thing. We need to see how well you are able to understand speech in the best listening environment possible.
Dynamic Range Testing
This test allows us to look at how wide the range is between what volume is comfortable for you, and what volume is just about too loud. These tests are simple, quick, and comfortable to the patient. If you have ever heard someone complain that their hearing aids are too loud, chances are that this portion of the evaluation was neglected. Dynamic range testing helps us to identify loudness tolerance and if you are a hearing aid patient, program your devices in a way that allows good hearing and comfortable loudness.
If you are bothered by persistent ringing or other sounds in your ears, we will conduct a simple and effective evaluation where we are able to match the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus. This helps us to recommend which of the wide array of treatment options out there will be the most effective for you.
Hearing Test Results
Now that we have completed the evaluation, we can sit down and talk about what we found. We begin with a brief overview on how we hear, in order to better understand the results. We then discuss each portion of your test results, prognosis for the future, and address any questions that you may have.
Your audiologist then makes his recommendation for treatment. He does this by combining everything we have built up to this point; your listening priorities, the size, shape, and stability of your outer and middle ear, the severity and type of your hearing loss, your tolerance for loudness, speech understanding ability, and how well you hear in background noise. At this point, we tie it all together.
We will also respect your budget when making the best possible recommendation for you, the individual. We have an understanding of how to work with insurance and tailor a payment plan that works for anyone. Regardless of the outcome of the evaluation, you will leave that day with a firm knowledge and understanding of your hearing ability.