Gradual hearing loss is common. So common, in fact, that many people don’t realize they have hearing difficulty until their hearing loss is already significant. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), people tend to wait an average of ten years before they seek services for their hearing! That’s why it’s essential for people across all age groups to get regular hearing evaluations to ensure ear health and prevent hearing loss.
Why Are Hearing Tests Necessary?
To detect communication delays - This is important for babies and young children. Even mild hearing impairment can be a barrier to learning and social interaction, hindering a child’s ability to follow directions and communicate with their peers.
To prevent depression and social isolation - The inability to interact with loved ones due to hearing loss is directly tied to a decline in mental health. All adults over the age of 60 should have their hearing tested every year in order to prevent avoidable hearing loss.
To diagnose medical conditions - Some hearing loss is caused by underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
What Happens During a Hearing Test?
When you show up to your audiology appointment, the audiologist will start by asking you questions about any problems or concerns you may have, such as ringing in the ears or trouble understanding people’s words.
Next, you will be taken to a room to have the actual hearing test. Hearing tests are nothing to be intimidated by, as they are painless, non-invasive, and take place inside a quiet, sound-treated room. You will likely be asked to wear headphones or soft earplugs.
Once the test is over, the audiologist will discuss whether or not you need a hearing aid, and what options are available to you. If you need a hearing aid, you can be fitted for one on the same day, if time allows.
What Types Of Hearing Tests Are Available?
Francis Audiology offers three types of hearing tests:
An audiometric evaluation is a noninvasive hearing test that measures your ability to hear different sounds, pitches, or frequencies. To get the most accurate results, we recommend avoiding loud noise for 16 hours prior to testing.
An audiometric test (also known as an audiogram) determines:
If hearing loss is present
If the loss is mild, moderate, severe, or profound
At which frequencies hearing loss occurred (low, middle, or high tones)
If the loss is one-sided or on both sides
This test diagnoses and monitors middle ear problems. A flexible rubber tip is used to change the air pressure inside the ear to make the eardrum move back and forth.
A tympanometry test can detect:
Fluid in the middle ear
A middle ear infection (otitis media)
Tympanic membrane tears
Eustachian tube problems
Also known as OAEs, this test can detect early signs of hearing loss by looking at the structures within the cochlea. A foam or rubber tip is inserted into the ear canal and plays sounds. The audiologist running the test can see the results on a monitor in real time. The OAE test is often used to screen for hearing impairment in newborns.
Francis Audiology has years of clinical experience in hearing science and hearing rehabilitation. Our practice is compliant with AAA (American Academy of Audiology) and ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). Whether you need a hearing test, hearing aids or custom molds for iPods, we are here to help. Request an appointment online or call 412-123-3456 today!