What are the Features of a Modern Hearing Test?
If you suspect you may have hearing loss, it is a good idea to identify it as early as possible. More than 15% of Americans experience hearing loss at some point in their lives; it can affect anyone. Although most do live full and active lives, it can sometimes lead to more serious medical problems that should not go unchecked.
A hearing test can allow you to identify not only whether you have hearing loss, but also how severe it is and what kind of hearing loss you are experiencing.
What can you expect when you book a hearing test?
Audiology technology is always advancing, and hearing tests constantly improved and refined to tell you more about your hearing loss. Hearing tests are different for each patient and may include a range of tests depending on the nature or severity of the symptoms.
Here are some of the things you might expect when booking a hearing test with our office:
Hearing health history
When you visit an audiologist for a hearing test, the first step will be to discuss your medical history, hearing health and the concerns you are having about your hearing. This will provide the audiologist with the information needed to identify or rule out certain factors. These factors may include genetics, medical conditions or noisy work environments that could contribute to your hearing loss.
Your audiologist will also ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing and how they affect your day-to-day life. Hearing loss is different for everyone, so a comprehensive understanding of your lifestyle will help to ensure the best possible solution. Once your hearing health history is complete, you will move on to the hearing exam.
An otoscopy is an inspection of your ear canal, looking for any signs of damage or infection on your inner or outer ear that may be causing the hearing loss.
Once the otoscopy is completed, most hearing tests will feature some form of pure-tone audiometric testing. This will involve putting on a pair of headphones and listening to various tones at different pitches and volumes. The test is designed to identify how well you can hear at different levels as well as giving a baseline result for comparison in later tests. This will allow the audiologist to track how your hearing loss changes over time and with treatment.
A speech-based audiometric test will generally follow, to discover how well you can hear and understand conversation. The test uses live or recorded speech played to you through headphones. Some hearing tests even use the voices of loved ones to check your comprehension of the voices most important to you.
A series of words and sounds will be performed at varying degrees of volume, pitch and intensity. You will be asked to repeat back the words to show how well you understand them. This will identify at what level you cannot understand speech and thus determine the severity of your hearing loss.
In some cases, tympanometry is required. Tympanometry is an examination that measures the function and mobility of the eardrum and middle ear. The test can determine whether hearing aids will help your hearing loss, or whether other medical treatment is required.
A soft plug is usually placed in the ear that creates pressure changes while you hear a low-pitched tone. Measurements of your eardrum’s movement will be recorded throughout.
At the end of your hearing test, you will be presented with the results. These will usually be shown in the form of an audiogram, which your audiologist will talk through with you. The audiogram is a graph displaying the lowest sounds you can hear at different pitches and frequencies, indicating your level of hearing loss.
If your audiologist has identified hearing loss, they will recommend treatment. For most adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, this will most likely mean hearing aids. Hearing aid technology has seen major advancements, meaning they can be customized to fit your personal preferences and lifestyle.
Booking a hearing test
There are many different types of hearing tests available, and some can be taken online or at home. Whatever your symptoms, it is important when booking a test that you choose a trusted provider.
At Rocky Mountain Hearing and Balance, we provide a full range of diagnostic and rehabilitative services for those with hearing difficulties. If you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, call today at (801) 685-3456 to book a hearing test.