Hearing exams can be as important to your overall health as vision, dental and wellness checks, but many people don’t have their hearing checked on a regular basis.
Since hearing loss often develops gradually, you may not realize you’re suffering from impaired hearing without a hearing exam.
Discovering hearing loss in its early stages makes it easier to treat and manage successfully. If you are concerned about your hearing or that of a family member, it’s important to make an appointment for a hearing evaluation right away. Hearing exams are fast, easy, painless and highly effective in diagnosing a variety of hearing problems.
What to Expect at Your Hearing Evaluation
- First, your audiologist will want to review your medical history, including any past or present hearing-related or health issues.
- Next, your audiologist will begin a physical examination of your ears. To get a closer look, he or she will use an instrument called an otoscope to see into your ear canal and middle ear.
Based on the findings from your medical history and physical exam, your audiologist will decide to perform one or more tests, which include:
This type of test examines the movement of the eardrum, measuring how it responds to changes in air pressure. Tympanometry tests are useful for assessing eardrum function.
Air Conduction Test
This is a common initial hearing test that measures the range of your hearing abilities. It is typically administered using headphones, and the test subject is told to identify sounds and tones that are sent to one or both ears at varying frequencies.
Word Recognition Test
This test helps your audiologist determine the best treatment plan for your hearing loss. The word recognition test evaluates your ability to understand and repeat words.
Acoustic Reflex Test
The acoustic reflex measures your middle ear’s involuntary muscle contractions when sound enters the ear.
The results of the hearing tests your audiologist performs will be charted on an audiogram, which is used to assess your hearing loss.
Based on the readings from the audiogram, your hearing specialist may recommend one or more treatment options. We also have the training to recognize patterns on your audiogram that may require further evaluation by a physician.